I grew up on a man made island -- a strip of land jutting out into the Gulf of Mexico, near the mouth of the Mississippi River. We had one main highway and I walked or biked everywhere a kid could go. School, the library, the grocery, friends' homes, the river. It was awesome. I remember my best friend and neighbor wasn't allowed to cross the highway near our home for the longest time and I thought that was ridiculous.
That was then.
My children are headed out at this moment on their bikes. They're riding to the public library at the back of our neighborhood. Meaning they have to maneuver the busy parking lot. They know how to get there and when to be home. And the story above keeps my stomach from seizing up. Letting them be independent is scary but good. This is part of embracing here.
I remember, at Mae's age, walking or biking what seemed miles to get to school -- no, I was younger than Mae. And I remember dogs chasing me and thinking I wouldn't make it to school alive. But I wouldn't have given up the thrill of being independent for anything. There was nothing better than riding to the other side of town to check out as many library books as I could carry, balancing them on my handlebars all the way home. This keeps my heart from leaping out of my chest. It helps me encourage my children to be brave, daring, adventurous.
I find myself asking the question: when did I cease to be brave, daring, adventurous? Am I living vicariously at this point? I went with Mae and my brother and his girls to Frontier City last summer and I wouldn't ride the roller coaster. My 38 year old brother and his 7 and 9 year old girls rode them all, more than once. The 9 year old and my brother went on that giant bungee ride that scares the living crap out of me (I wouldn't have ridden that at any age). I was just brave enough to go on a couple of the spinning rides, but was extremely lucky not to have lost my lunch or passed out. Where's the adventure?
I'm on a quest -- a quest to not only embrace here, but to find the adventure. If you'd like to join me, just let me know. Who knows what will happen?
Until I write again ...