My friend Jim over at Speaking of Adventure, had a great post today about encouraging your kids to (safely) be adventurous. It’s as if he wrote it just for me. My son is turning 16 next week and has spent the last year and a half doing a lot indoor and outdoor climbing. He asked for a crash pad for his birthday. Why couldn’t he have asked for an industrial-strength bubble? I’ve been wanting to get one of those for him for years. But a crash pad? Is he trying to kill me?! For those of you unfamiliar with this injurious-sounding item, it’s a large, thick cushion climbers place at the base of a large rock so if they fall while bouldering, they hopefully land on this life-saving pillow and not the ground. (He doesn’t know this, but he’s getting a matching helmet, too.) He’s a smart kid; I don’t so much worry about him being stupid. After all, if you can’t trust your kid to make wise decisions, then you don’t trust your parenting. It’s still hard to let some slack out of the leash—it’s those out-of-our-hands elements that we can’t control that get me panicky.
We’ve all heard it: “Watch out, they grow up fast.” I know. But don’t roll your eyes because it’s true. My little dude, who was born 6 weeks early at 4 lbs, 7 oz, just surpassed me in height (I’m nearly 5’10”) and outweighs me too. (That, I’m okay with.) How did this happen? Do you parents know that book, Love You Forever?
Yep, that’s the one. To this day, I can’t read (or even think about) this book without getting choked up. A parent recently told me that this book creeps her out. Excuse me? After I judged her for being an emotionless, rotten parent . . . well, not really, but maybe a little, I realized that I probably traumatized my son more by constantly reading him “the book that makes mommy cry.” Anyhow, if you know and love this book, you understand where I’m coming from.
Now, I haven’t even gotten to the driver’s license part yet. In Colorado, you have to have a permit for a full year; he got his in January, so we have some time. Little does he know, he’s getting a AAA membership. Woo-hoo! (Yes, it’s more for me than it is for him.)
I guess the bottom line is that I can’t be that crash pad forever. Jim nailed it when he said, “Parents do not want to see their children get hurt, but we know that young people must struggle some and maybe get bruised so as to become resilient for the adventures, and misadventures, that life will surely bring them.” So if I can’t pace the bottom of the boulder with arms stretched out, ready to catch him, then I’ll at least be there cheering him on (with plenty of band aides and hugs, just in case).