Tuesday, February 09, 2016

The Rock Graveyard

I mean... they're old enough. Teen and tween, I don't have to hover and they (usually) use good judgement, even when parents aren't around. The other day we walked around the new neighborhood and discovered two very discoverable places: the tree graveyard and the rock graveyard.

The tree graveyard is a big deadfall of trees, debris of construction. Myself and many of my neighbors have plundered this pile, adding to our firewood racks a few branches at a time.

The rock graveyard is slightly less exciting, a pile of anti-erosion rocks in the washout at the end of the street, beyond which is bedrock and wilderness.

Tracks found in the rock graveyard.
My husband and I talked about how we would have made use of these spaces as kids, hanging out and planning adventures, building forts and playing at being lost in the wilderness. Our kids have their own adventures, including things like zombie apocalypse scenarios.

But, as a grown up, full-on helicopter mom, when I look at these wild spaces, I don't see adventure; I see danger.

Snakes. Scorpions. Wolves. Bobcats. Ticks!

These are all very real things that live in our neck of the woods, so to speak. My fears are not unfounded. Well, not completely, anyway.

There are sharp rocks and tall grasses that could hide any number of things. Not to mention bad guys! Everywhere! And poison ivy! And other things!

So, when my kids asked if they could go to the rock graveyard unsupervised, I hesitated. I mean, yes, they had been driving me crazy. They could use time outside, away from me and I could use time away from them as well. They're old enough. They have each other, and how happy I should be that they enjoy spending time together (except for when they are fighting)!

Footprints, big and small.

So... Okay, I told them, you have an hour, partially since we had someplace to be and partially because it made me uncomfortable for them to go.

Holy crap, I told myself. Cut the cord already.

Easier said than done.

And I had to stop myself from going out to see what they were up to, bringing the dog for a little walk and making sure they weren't in danger—stuck in the mud, surrounded by rabid coyotes as so often happens.

Life is going to bring them plenty of coyotes. How else will they prepared for them if they don't learn to fight them off—even the imaginary ones?

I tried to keep my mind off of it, off the new neighborhood that they are learning about, their exploration of our surroundings, their need to get away. I get it. And I was starting to enjoy my hour alone when the ding announced the opening of the door.

Back already? I asked.

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