Watching my youngest child navigate the waters of Moro Bay made me so very proud and so very scared at the same time.
This was only her second time in a kayak and seeing that she adapts quickly to new adventures was marvelous; but knowing that if she got into trouble on the water, it would be up to me, was causing anxiety in the momma area of my heart.
Of four children, she is the caboose, so I’ve experienced this feeling before. It hasn’t gotten any easier. Each child had their own talent and interests, mostly determined by what we as parents were doing at the time. We’ve run the gamut from showing animals through 4-H, FFA classes and competitions, to hunting, fishing and trapping.
We had one to dabble in radio and film work and two to go on to be Marines. I’ve led 4-H classes in sewing and manners and worked alongside my husband for a 4-H wildlife class. Hubby is into coon dogs and he takes our youngest out hunting at night. I can’t see that great at night, even with that flashlight thing on my head, so I opt out of those adventures. It is sad how much I know how to do, but am so bad at all of it!
At home, our poor kids had to help run the family business and keep the house clean and the yard tended. As they got older we promised to be mean to all of them equally and to make sure they would leave our home ready to face the world. What they do with that information is totally up to them.
Though we’ve entered another phase with only one left at home, the rules are still the same. Yes, we are mean to her and she has to help keep the house clean and the yard tended; but we’ve needed to find something fun she can do.
Hubby is a school resource officer and as his helper, I’ve taken archery and trap shooting and recently I added kayaking. Since she didn’t really have any idea what kind of hobby suited her, I’ve chosen one for her. Ha!
Both my hubby and I were raised in the woods and gratefully we are able to pass that onto the youngest. The other three were given the same opportunities so they too know and love the outdoors.
Dinner time was my favorite time of the day when all four would gather around our table and share their adventures. I miss hearing their daily stories, but we try to do the same with the youngest so that she too will want to raise her babies around the family table.
She leads the blessing but sometimes she goes so fast I am not really sure what she said. We discuss the day and share the funny things that happened. Occasionally we skip the table but we try to not make that a habit.
Next to the obvious fear of our children being hurt, or worse, the other scary part of parenting is all of the mistakes. I’ve made more than my share of mistakes, and continue to do so. I so hate that. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t human. I wish I was a saint. I want to be a saint, but I don’t really know how, so I keep being me.
We will keep loving our children, keep going to church and keep going outside. Luckily we live in a state that caters to the outdoors. We have 52 state parks and if you choose one park a weekend, you can cover them in a year. Or you can spread it out over time, which has worked better for us.
Some weekends we just gotta rest! Not being a Saint is really exhausting.
As parents, we are all in this together and will all end up empty-nesters sooner than later; we need to get out there and do something wonderful with our kids. I mean something together, where we are interacting with each kiddo. Depending on each other.
One day those adventures will be dinner-table worthy stories. I promise.
This post written for my Dreaming In Arkansas Column and appeared in the June 2, 2018 edition of the El Dorado News-Times.