It’s an unusually fine Scottish Spring day and our group of family and friends are straggled out along the heathery path that leads down from Corrie Lochan to the rocky West coast of the Isle of Arran.
“Can I take the bridge, like mum?” asks Hannah.
Kirstie’s already on the bridge; it sometimes seems she’s hard wired that way. But I don’t want the kids to blindly follow in her footsteps, not without considering the alternative. She probably feels the same way about me.
I pause. “You could take the bridge. But the stepping stones look more fun.”
Hannah eyes up the water and the gaps between the stones. “But what if I fall in?”
I say nothing and let her weigh it up. She doesn’t need me to tell her the consequences.
“Can I hold your hand?” she finally asks, swatting a midge off her nose.
Of course she could. But I think she can manage it herself, without me.
“But what if I fall in?” I ask.
She giggles. I think she’d like that. It’s unlikely but not impossible; I might fall in, I might get wet. There’s risk and consequences. And that’s the point. Without that where’s the adventure?
But perhaps things look different with five year old legs, a mum on a bridge and little experience of stepping stones. Truth be told, the risks are different for Hannah. Falling in is possible, maybe even likely. But no-one ever died of wet feet. Did they?
The giggling subsides as Hannah hesitates on the edge. She looks over to mum, heading off down the hill, and takes a deep breath…..
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