18 or 48

My small boy who weighed 8lb 11oz at birth turns 18 at the end of this month.

That same small boy who used to squeeze himself into a yard bucket aged around 4, was a spindly thing yet athletic and brave. Always smiling, happy in company or with his own (*goes off to find photo*).

Hours he would spend on his haunches, at the edge of the flower bed, playing with toy cars and tractors, making tracks in the dry soil, and brmm brmm noises that were surprisingly realistic and included gear changes.

His love of anything with wheels (or tracks) led him to own at some point in his upbringing a toy version of pretty much all the world has to offer in the way of automobiles.

What to do for his 18th, the young man now at agricultural college; who has true independence with his first own wheels, a – now kitted to the hilt – landrover 90. He works hard on the farm, and learnt quickly how the hours here do not follow those of his peers’ holiday jobs, or those working in retail and offices. During harvest he can easily notch up a 16hr day, and being a family farm, the laws on child labour don’t quite cut it. The fieldwork is waiting like a crocodile at the edge of a water hole, occasionally snapping at any unconscious procrastination.

When I saw the adverts back in Nov/Dec flying around across FB, and films 1-7 in the series had been previously devoured by not only our son but us all, I decided to book tickets. With our daughter living in London these days and choosing – quite rightly – much of her spare time with her lovely boyfriend, it is rare we go out as the old team of four (ooh, don’t forget your GIFs πŸ’«)>I drove in, husband was tired. Son didn’t know what the surprise event was, although 3 miles off the O2 did guess the venue ☺️. It wasn’t until the carpark attendant said “Are you here for Fast&FuriousLive?” that he finally knew for certain what we’d hauled ourselves out in the snow blizzards for. (Don’t finish a sentence with one of those.) …. that he finally knew for certain why we might have hauled ourselves out during a snow blizzard. (much better).

The stunt driving was bloody amazing (apologies for the language but it’s what I said at the time and I simply cannot refine that). The finish on these cars’ bodywork was something else. I was mesmerised and my heartbeat played tunes of delight. As I became transfixed through my vision and hearing senses being fully engaged, I knew I was experiencing what my counsellor has told me to look out for. Anything in our lives which give us the buzz of excitement instinctively, should ideally be nurtured and understood. We humans need some of that buzz for our well-being now we no longer have to go out and kill a passing warthog for supper.

(My strategy as I soak up the advice in my final counselling session today is to move forward with confidence to be me in my real life, as I have sold myself to you guys over 8 weeks of blogging.)

Our time is spent improving ourselves, doing what’s expected and seen as right by other people, we forget to let ourselves enter what the therapists call ‘free child ego state’. That sense of freedom from constraints as the pulse quickens as our brain accepts the excitement from the stimulus we’ve always known deep down we need.

When my little boy gathered his toys aged four, his excitement levels were visible. His body shook, his grinning face, his pleading for me to open the door as the handle was too high. Some time later, his brmm brmm noises were still audible from the house and he would be lost in his own world of imagination, not a worry entering his non-furrowed brow.

I saw it yesterday too. Those minutes before the show started, after the announcer informed us that in 5 minutes we would be treated to an action-packed visual spectacle. His excitement matched my own and we exchanged grins and wide-eyed mutually agreed nods. Daughter too had phone poised for snaps. Husband slept through about 50% of it. He was very tired.

If the link below works, then I challenge you to watch it without your heart rate increasing from that of resting pace. Even if street racing is not your bag, and you’d rather watch the RAC rally through the welsh hills, or formula 1 at Silverstone, I am pretty sure that anyone who loves cars will have a small biological reaction to the engine notes, sexy lighting mixed with great music, exciting direction. Brilliant films with a good moral fibre running through.

Leaving the venue, when my son put his arm around my shoulders from his 6’3″ height, grinned and said “Thanks mum” my day was made … love that boy πŸ’™