Today marks four weeks of being home as a foursome. It’s been an amazing and memorable month. It’s also been a crazy one. We’ve had more freak accidents (and near accidents) in the last 4 weeks than in the last year. I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say that I’m now constantly wavering between paranoia and prevention. Every time I hear a thud or a loud sound, I jump and wait for cries. I hold my breath as the kids come down the stairs. I’m constantly on edge at the playground. And I find myself saying “no,” “don’t,” and “stop” much too often.
As Carter nears 2 1/2, he’s becoming stronger, bolder, more agile, and more adventurous. And it’s making me a nervous wreck. Then I recalled some words etched in my mind almost 9 years ago.
“Deep in his heart, every man longs for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue. That is how he bears the image of God; that is what God made him to be.” (inside dust jacket of Wild at Heart)
I read Wild at Heart in grad school. And even then, before marriage or children, John Eldredge succeeded in convincing me that “adventure is written into the heart of a man.” (p.13) I made a vow in 2001 that if God blessed me with sons, I would let my boys be boys. I would encourage them in their interests rather than hindering them out of my own fear.
Oh, if only living it out were that simple. I’m not sure how to balance encouraging Carter’s warrior heart and nature with teaching him to be careful and avoid injury. I’m trying to take on the perspective that if the potential consequence aren’t life-threatening or life-debilitating, we can handle it. I mean, aren’t battle wounds (aka scars) cool?
Climbing up the ladder into a treehouse…that was about 8 feet or higher off the ground.
I guess moms weren’t allowed into the clubhouse. This was Carter shutting the trap door as he politely said, “No Mommy.”
Looking out of the treehouse window.
I should mention that this amazing treehouse at my cousin’s house was built by my uncle for his grandkids. He is a talented guy!
I don’t really want Carter to become a motorcycle-driving, skydiving, bungee-jumping, thrill-seeking addict. But I do want him to run, jump, climb trees, play in treehouses… I long for him to explore, discover, and learn his strengths and limits. I want him to be wise but not always to play it safe. I want him to love with abandon and develop a fierce and passionate heart. I’d love for him to follow in his dad’s and uncle’s footsteps of exploring the backcountry of Denali, Alaska. I want him to grow into a man. I want him to dive into “a creative work worthy of God.” (p. 199) And all of this starts now with how I teach him to live and play.
So I’m still gonna be holding my breath. But I’ll give him a wink and smile as he ventures forth. Veteran moms of boys….does it get any easier?