It’s Sunday here in the UK so it must be time for our weekly virtual trip to beautiful Switzerland.
This trip goes back a number of years. To a time of being parents to a toddler. To a time before I had a digital camera. A time when my mobile phone was just that – a phone that just about fitted into my pocket. It didn’t have a camera, didn’t play music, didn’t try to constantly tell me to increase my step count.
As ever it was a gloriously sunny Swiss day. This day started with our Son feeding the lake ducks with last nights unused hotel bread.
Then we headed by train to Kandersteg, which is a beautiful and quiet alpine village.
A stunning path then gradually takes you deeper into the Alps. The sound of babbling streams proving a wonderful backdrop to the mountains which surround you
Then we arrive at one of the Europe’s special places. A stunning blue water mountain gem. Oeschinen Lake.
It’s a place we visited many times. It never fails to take the breath away
Then we slowly made our way back to our hotel. Some unexpected late afternoon excitement followed as only a few paces away from the hotel we had action. A Bollywood movie was being filmed.
This special day finished with the parents drinking wine on the balcony and someone pretending to be Dr Who in the bedroom. A hotel cupboard makes a grand Tardis. Another special Swiss day. Thank you Switzerland.
New Years Eve. A walk to a local lake. For our Son a good walk as apart from a couple of anglers we had the place to ourselves.
This might have been the first place we walked to when we moved to the village. A time before parenthood. But parenting was at the forefront of our thoughts. It was the main reason we left the city. It looked a good safe place to raise a family. A perfect fit.
Fast forward far too many years and again I’m walking around this lake. This time as a parent. Still thinking about parenthood. Realising with hindsight what an excellent location choice we made. It’s perfect for our son. A landscape which can inspire dreams. Quiet. Isolated.
Yet even here sometimes it’s not isolated enough. Two anglers fishing at the far corner of the lake. A hundred yards away. Yet son still pulled his hood over his head and talked quietly. Just in case. It’s so difficult for him to interact with our society. Imagine how difficult it would be for him if we lived in a busy city. How difficult it is for him trying to learn in a school with 800 pupils.
Looking back to my life I can understand his anxieties. I can understand the effect those two anglers can have. I’ve always struggled in social settings. People thought I was outgoing and confident. They didn’t see the nervous kid with a stammer. The child only truly at ease when he was playing by himself. Only happy to laugh and joke when in small groups of trusted friends. Or within a trusted sports team where I would allow myself to take down some the self erected defensive walls. Yet throw in a stranger and I clammed up. I remember the teacher telling the class that the next day would be different. Kids from another school would be visiting us. The thought of strangers spooked me. The next day I bunked off school. As I walked towards the school gates I panicked. I spent the rainy day crouched under a bush. As an adult again I was often seen as the outgoing confident joker. Oh so wrong. Often my social skills needed to be fuelled with alcohol. Those antics masked my anxieties. I kept to a small circle of close friends. Avoided strangers. Constantly battling with my insecurities and nervous stammer.
These years later I’m still wracked with social anxieties. Now no alcohol to fuel the alter ego. So yes I can understand what our Son is going through. I’m no expert but what he has to deal with makes my struggles look like a cakewalk. So everyday I ponder on ways I can find to help him with his anxieties. Yet apart from Sport, Alcohol and hiding under bushes I’ve not been able to help myself. Maybe we could add – walking around completely deserted lakes to the list.