(Note: This post was written several months ago, but I just found it unpublished in my draft folder. Since it remains very much the story of our daily lives, I'm just going to post it now!)
As I sit at my dining room table, I have a view through three windows overlooking my front yard. It's a great perch from which to watch the activity of my neighborhood. As the twilight sets in, I've counted a dozen couples strolling by, walking dogs, pushing strollers. A typical occurrence most evenings around here.
Another typical sight (just a little less idyllic) is happening even as I type these words. The background noise is a symphony of semi-automatic air soft weapons being unloaded and the sight of ninja-like long-legged boys belly-crawling through my azaleas.
Nestled in a three-house triangle, we are the neighbors responsible for 7 boys ranging in ages from 8 to 15 years old. It is loud, smelly, dangerous and delightfully entertaining around here. As parents, we all agree that we are grateful these young men are far more interested in outdoor games than gaming systems, but there IS a trade-off when you unleash this herd on our suburban streets.
For instance, I question my personal safety more often when I'm, say, going out to check the mail. I usually call out some sort of "CEASE FIRE" warning when I leaved the covered safety of my front porch overhang. The rustling of the hedges indicates that I've been heard and am safe to retrieve my mail. Lately, Miss M has apparently been questioning her personal safety and has taken matters into her own hands.
|Safety Goggles? Check!|
|Outta the way, Miss M! Those safety glasses won't save you now!|
My role to keep my son safe from himself is diminishing as my husband's role of pushing him to the limits of his fears and reservations increases. I can certainly suggest that he shouldn't ride his bike down the street "with no arms and no legs, Mom!", but it's way more fun for him to watch YouTube videos with Dad about what amazing things you can do on your bike when your arms and legs are free from the burdens of steering and pedaling.
The day after they watched one of these videos, I received the following text from my husband:
"So I got run off the trail.
Now know what it feels like
to flip over handlebars!
I'm ok though - a little sore."
Yes, boys will be forever a mystery to me.