My youngest son (28) came around this morning for breakfast, to do his washing, and to show me how to make sauerkraut. He'd come to see me last month to scrounge a box full of jars to use to store and ferment food, and now he’d experienced the whole life-cycle of the process and consumption, was ready to teach me how to do it too.
When my children were small and I was a stay-at-home mum, everything they knew I knew too. I knew what they knew because they’d either learned it from me, or I was in the room when they learned it. That started to change after they started having experiences outside the home: first kindergarten, then school, then self learning.
In the beginning it was a bit strange. Hearing my son read for the first time, I asked “Who taught you that??” He told me he’d learned it from school. That happened with lots of things - school taught him how to read and count and multiply and write and play sports and draw and then all of a sudden he’s this fully formed person who, while he still needed someone to cook his dinners and clean his clothes, didn’t really need me for learning new stuff.
He grew up and learned so much. He went to University and out-learned me easily. Now he’s 28 and teaching me how to ferment cabbage.
From the moment your child leaves your body, they are growing away from you. In the beginning it’s slow and imperceptible. Over the years the gap widens and the rate at which it grows increases.
All of a sudden they’re gone.
They truly don’t really need you any more.
If you’re super lucky, they come back sometimes. To use your dryer, or to eat your bacon, or ask advice, or tell you they’ve met the love of their lives.
I’m super lucky - not just because I have a dryer and some bacon. I also have a jar of fermenting cabbage that will be sauerkraut in two weeks and a memory of spending time learning new stuff with my youngest son.