Worst thrill-seeking mom ever
Inspired by Jen Harmaker's Worst End-Of-School-Year Mom Ever blog
Life is full of adventure. I dont want to raise boys who are fearful of the unknown; kids need to satisfy their desire to explore and to experience the world. Sometimes, they will get hurt. This is a risk that I must embrace to ensure that I raise confident, bold, happy young men.
Sounds good, right? Does it count as a parenting philosophy if I really wish it were true?
Because I am not that mom. I can describe her in great detail dripping with admiration, but sadly, I am not cut from that cloth. Instead, I am cut from the kind of material used to make seat belts and bike helmets and pool fences. I am the mom who wrings her hands nervously at the window, and who deflates the soaring boy-balloon of thrilling possibility with piercing sharp gasps and annoying admonitions. I am a joy-stomper. My worry-wart ways are all the more grating as I constantly state the obvious:
Watch out! That ledge is really high!
Slow down! Youll go insanely fast over that steep hill!
Careful! This seems dangerous.
Uh, yeah, Einstein, thats the point. Super high, super fast, even super dangerous thats what the testosterone club in my life is all about.
This circumstance presents an unexpected parenting challenge. You know that you will make sacrifices of your time, your resources, your body, and your sanity when you become a mom. You required the same of your parents, and now the Just-wait-til-you-have-kids bill has come due. That is just the circle of life, man. Fine.
But there are smaller and somehow bigger concessions. What if your kids are the opposite of you in temperament? What if they are absolute risk-seeking missiles to your totally risk-averse rocking chair? When I was a kid my favorite thing to do was to curl up in a quiet corner with a book. My boys love to curl up in a corner with a book because from that vantage point it may be transformed swiftly into a launching device, whereby they can zing the dogs toys into the ceiling fan.
I was the kid who was stranded on the ladder for the zip line at the all-grade field trip to Camp Thunderbird, tearfully gripping the platform, convinced I would zip to my death. In contrast, my boys race through life on skateboards, behind boats, on bikes, often on their own grubby bare feet. They climb up fences and trees and walls. They are so fast. And so strong. For all the fits it gives me, I have to admit: Their energy really is magnificent. And so very, very different from mine.
Consider a family vacation out west. We agree we want to hike in the Grand Tetons, and we scope out our course. There are narrow winding trails, wild bear, slippery rocks, rushing waterways. There is also a Park Ranger leading our trek.
He carefully lays out the rules for how its going to go so we will all be safe. Tears of joy spring to my eyes and I briefly contemplate kissing him on the mouth. Typically my partner in adult supervision leaves a bit to be desired in the rule-following department. I am reminded of his response upon seeing a barricade blocking a tantalizing stretch of trail in NC: Oh, we can totally climb around that.
I am elated. Relaxed. My family is less enthused. They grumble through the morning, lamenting their inability to run wild like they prefer. When we talk about it later, however, they do concede that the tempering of their style was ultimately worth it to enjoy the experience minus all of my typical nervous shrieks and broken-record stops! splattering through the grand landscape.
I suppose I will always feel compelled to put the brakes on, and often that is what Ill do. After all, it is my job to deliver them to adulthood . . . like, alive. I am sure it does not surprise you to learn that I take my work very, very seriously.
Read Kercher's other 'worst' adventures in parenting:
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