Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Revising the Standard Answer

Things Adam used to be afraid of:

  • fireworks
  • power tools
  • "It's a Small World" ride
  • the idea of coyotes in the Oquirrh mountains
  • loud noises
  • motorcycles/dune buggy
  • his shadow
Okay, maybe not his shadow, but as his mom, it often seemed that way.  I spent much of the first 6 years of his life explaining to his Grandpa Casdorph that he wouldn't enjoy whatever it was Grandpa had planned... he would be too scared.

And then he started to grow up.  Ryan came for a summer, and the boys spent their weeks together climbing on or jumping off everything they could find.  He gradually became more tolerant of noise, more willing to take risks, and even started to enjoy rides on Grandpa's motorized toys.  He became my hiking buddy, willing to climb a little higher than the rest of the family, and with me along to encourage him to try new things, he has become what I would even call adventurous.

So when Skye invited me along for a weekend camping trip, I suggested that Adam come along, too.  We stopped at the Malad Gorge to walk around a bit, and I received my first clue that this trip might be a bit different.  Instead of relying on Adam's innate sense of danger to keep him far from the edge, I found myself actually having to watch where he was and offer words of motherly caution to keep him safely away from the edge.

This new Adam accompanied us down the river, as well.  Instead of freaking out and insisting he be put in the safest place possible, he complained about being seated in the middle of the boat, clearly seeing less action than those along the sides.  After Uncle Skye let him "ride the bull" (sit at the very front of the raft) during one rapid, it was all he begged to do.  He was the first to notice a rope swing overhanging the river, and the second to try it.  (He made me go first.)  When the big boys (Chancy, Skye, and Kyler) showed their skill with flips and tricks, Adam decided to try a "gainer" (what I call a back-flip).  He didn't succeed, but I was impressed that he even convinced his body to try, since my body promptly refused when I sent the do-a-backflip signals.  

In fact, his only moment of panic during the whole run was after I had gotten thrown from the raft.  A few minutes after I had climbed back in, he spoke quietly so only I could hear.  "Mom, can I hold your hand for a minute?"  I of course let him, but I was curious why he seemed a bit scared between rapids.  "I saw you fall out of the boat, Mom," he explained.  "I looked and saw you completely covered in the white water, and then you were gone."  That's all he said as he gripped my hand for a few moments.

Of course, the weekend was full of tales from Skye's glory days.  He and Chancy relived their various jumps from various bridges, and considered jumping a few times on this trip.  However, it was the 4th of July and with the river full of rafters in various stages of insobriety, they decided to heed Skye's mom's warning and play it safe.  But even just the talk of jumping off a bridge had Adam all excited.  "Mom, can I jump off a bridge?"  At first, I responded with my time-tested answer to any question like this that arises from Adam.  

"Sure!  If you feel brave enough to do that, you go right ahead."

Historically, since Adam has hardly been brave enough to do anything, it has been a great answer.  I figured it would still apply well to bridge jumping, which I am not entirely certain he's ready for.  But then I watched him flying off the rope swing and thought, perhaps it is time to revise the standard answer.  Since the only Garden Valley, Idaho bridge I would have actually let him jump off (one I jumped in my teens) has been torn down, I bought myself a bit more time to consider what I will say the next time he begs to jump off a bridge.

He's already committed me to take him skydiving on his 18th birthday, and he now has talked Uncle Skye into taking him down to the bottom of the Malad Gorge to swim when he's 16.  (Adam was sad that Skye went down to the bottom without him this time.)  And I'm starting to wonder what my blanket permission statement for anything he's brave enough to do has gotten me into!

Adam and Red
Part of me is thrilled to have a new partner in crime.  And part of me wonders why I never had half the this-could-go-wrong scenarios cross my mind for my own safety that I do when I watch my 9 year old stand looking over the edge of a gorge.  Thankfully, his growing up also comes with less scary perks.  I now have a new Killer Bunnies buddy, and he is an absolutely amazing uncle.  I can't really say I was thrilled when we ended up with Ryder for the 2nd act of Retro Seven Brides (starring Skye as Gideon and Michelle as Dorcas), since we were pretty well stuck in our seats.  But I told Adam, who had stolen Ryder from Grandpa Eddie and brought him to sit with us, that since he brought him, he got to watch him.  Sure enough, Ryder refused any help from me and sat contentedly with his cousin through the act.

And I do still get to hang onto the old Adam in a few ways.  He was ridiculously frightened of the frog that Chris and Zachary caught.  

Frankincense the Frog doesn't seem so scary to me!

And for all the trying to act grown up he did, he sure escaped to play with Kyler's kids at every possible opportunity!

Closer in age than most of my kids' actual cousins, Kyler's kids will hopefully continue to be a big part of my kids' childhoods.   

But what will I say next time Adam asks to jump of a bridge?


Skye, Adam, and Chancy looking of the Malad Gorge Bridge

"Sure!  If you feel brave enough to do that, you go right ahead."