Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My Heart Goes to Sea

 Way back in March of 1993 I was told that “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” Elizabeth Stone

but that wasn't sufficient warning for the real impact of how much your life and values and world change the first time that child is in your arms.  My favorite things brfore I was a Mom suddenly all had to be re-evaluated and only the people managed to stay on the list.  Some things I had loved, like "Nightmare on Elm Street" were forever gone.  i didn't want to think of that kind of horror in the same world that my baby lived in.
 But that first child of mine was good at finding plenty of things to make a mom want to wrap him in bubble wrap and keep him always close.  He loved speed and noise and the great outdoors.  He still does, and as he has gone from a baby to a young man he has made me question the safety and sanity of my beloved child fairly frequently.

 I will never forget the day when I was at the river with my husband and both boys.  We had done a lot to water proof out children, including taking them to the pool twice a week starting when they were only weeks old and playing in the water with our infants in our arms, then paying for all the swimming lessons, and taking them to the beach and river with us.  That said, kids (and adults) drown here every year, the water is not something you can ever really be proof against.  This moment I am talking about, they wanted to swim across the river with my husband and jump off a rock there.  i knew the next step would be doing it with just each other, and in my min I saw the next steps that kids here take, going on their own, driving to more remote river spots with higher rocks and bridges to jump from. Surfing the ocean or kayaking the rapids.  I so wanted to say "no"

 Then I had a moment of something that still feels like truth to me.  I did not adopt this boy, or give birth to his brother to raise them wrapped in cotton.  A life spent being safe is ultimately no life at all.  So I gulped and visualized the worst, if they jumped from the rock and got caught in the river and I could never reach them in time.  I looked at that gorgeous water and the towering redwoods and the beautiful sky nd remembered a saying of my Great-Grandmother's people, "Today would be a good day to die."  Of course I didn't want them to die, but I did want them to live. So I said, "Go for it!"

 and I keep saying it to him.  And I still shudder inside every time I think of the worst case scenario.  None of those have happened    YET

 but many best case scenarios have come true

 So the day after tomorrow that young man climbs on a boat to head out to sea.  A tiny boat and an enormous sea, to try his hand at what is known as, "The Deadliest Catch"  Really?!  They had to call it that?  The world may see an adult, but I still see my baby.

 and I really like the idea of bubble wrap or a big padded room.

 But this is a young man filled with adventure and energy and the biggest heart, so he is taking my heart to sea, and I am, once more saying "I love you.  Go for it!"

Just come back.  Safely and often.

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