July 21, 2015 – Partly Cloudy, 65°, Sunrise 5:06 a.m., Sunset 11:05 p.m.
We are still in the beginning stages, really, of raising our boys – and it does feel like boys now – not just J and a baby. Every day there is dirt, noise, crashing, jumping, thumping, eating, and more eating. Any truck that goes by is a reason to rush to the window. J looks up to M and wants to copy everything Papa does, and N wants to copy everything big brother does. There’s more energy than can be contained within the walls of our house, and I am so grateful for the great outdoors to wear these boys out in!
It’s neat to see their relationship growing. There is sharing now, and fighting, playing and picking on. They’re steeling my nerves already for the adventures and mishaps to come; J took a tumble over the front of his bike riding down a hill, and came up with a huge bloody nose (but thankfully no other injuries) and N pushed over the baby gate on the deck, basically sledding down the staircase and breaking his fall with his head and nose on the stoop below (again, bloody nose and forehead, but thankfully nothing worse!).
As they are growing and starting to push the boundaries, I’ve been reflecting on risk vs. danger. There have been articles circulating lately about the subject, and highlighting the difference between the two: risk being something that a child can recognize for themselves and make a good decision about when and how to participate, danger being something that a child may not identify as a threat and it doesn’t pose any opportunity for learning. One of the reasons that we love Alaska, is that lessons on this are very natural. Being outdoors, learning how to hike and run and bike, creates perfect opportunities to teach the boys these lessons; choosing to climb the steeper hill=risk, bears=danger! Watching J ride down his bike down the hill, I watched him assess the risk. He had ridden 5 or so times safely, but went a little further up each time. The last time was more than he could handle, and he paid the price. As a mama who wants to keep anything from hurting her children ever, I wanted to stop him…but at the same time I want him to learn what he can handle, and that means there will be natural consequences.
I see this balance in M, and it’s one of the many things I love about him. He has an incredible sense of adventure, is willing to try just about anything, and I know I can trust his judgement. He knows what’s worth it, and when to walk away. I want our boys to learn that, to be able to trust their judgement. While that might create some white-knuckle moments right now, I hope it pays off in the long run and sets them up for a life of choosing adventures wisely!
(But learning from my brothers, I know my mama-white-knuckle moments won’t end just because the boys grow up! Greek cliff jumping anyone?)