Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bretzke's "unleashed"

After dinner we do our regular "well it's not quite bedtime" outing. Summertime bedtimes have drifted but my evening motivation is still fairly non-existent.

So off to the park we go.

Aaron likes to throw rocks. So I decided we'd go to a park by one of the man-made lakes. 
It'll be splendid: McKye can play at the park, Aaron can throw rocks, babay-swing for Levi,
 it should just be a lovely little evening outting.

SHOULD have been.

Except for one slight problem...we need to move to the middle of nowhere.

After staying a week with my friend, she made the very accurate observation about Aaron, "He just does things that make him" ie I'm tired I fall asleep. I'm not tired ( at 4 am)
 I wake up. Meal times don't make sense: I'm hungry, I eat (sometimes fries off of some strangers tray at MacDonalds) but to him to makes sense.

I want to throw rocks, I'm gonna throw rocks. Whether the little suburban-utopia planners didn't design the picaresque, property price enlarging lake to be for rock throwing enthusiasts or not.

And they did not.
Last summer we did lots of rock throwing, but this summer Aaron has decided it's way better to be in the water as you throw.

Well and if your shorts get wet, it makes sense to take them off. We left quite a few of our old rock throwing venues this summer, trying to be discrete about Aaron's clothing or rather his lack thereof.

Now, this is why we should live in the middle of nowhere. Where it would be okay for my 5 year old to throw rocks in his ginch. Civilization can be really over-rated.

So I'm all conflicted. One voice is saying, it's fine, who cares. And the other is imagining concerned suburbanites glaring out their windows as my poor pantless child climbing on the "dangerous" rocks, "unsupervised" (McKye kept pulling me to the playground, but I could still see Aaron), about to drown any moment!

Safety is good. Supervision is necessary. I get it. But sometimes I wish I felt like I could just give my kids a little space without feeling like a negligent parent that could be reported to social services...ya know?!?

Trying to deal with McKye whining at me to come play with him, while trying to make sure Aaron didn't wander too far (fall in the lake, drown and prove all those imaginary people judging me right) was sucking all the "fun" out of our little outing. I gave up.

I drug a screaming McKye and a heartbroken Aaron (you haven't heard a more heart breaking cry than Aaron's no more throwing rocks sobs) back to the van, where they woke up Levi (yup he'd fallen asleep on the way and I left him..with the door open, where I could see him the whole time, again, realizing social services is being called any moment) and I proceeded to drive away with all three kids crying full on, so glad (insert sarcastic tone) I had put forth the effort to try and take my kids on an outing.

And then I decided to "try again."

I live on the edge of the city and we turned away from the pesky judgment-filled residents, of horizon-blocking cookie-cutter homes  (of which one is ours)
 and followed a gravel road to freedom. 
I was instantly struck with the contrast between  man-made "nature" and the real deal.
The rocks at the park where set up really as an ascetic barrier. Something to keep people (and their children) away, "off the grass" and on paved paths of societal order. While the river bottom seemed to invite us, drawing us down into it. Aaron ran from the van straight into the water, welcomed.
I really do feel like boys need outside. Not that girls don't. But boys just crave the heavy lifting, the room to run, the dirt under their nails, and mud under their toes.

Even Levi was just so content to sit and watch the continuous splashes, and nibble on a rock or two. (which, had we been at some populated city park, I would have felt obligated to take from him, and quickly sanitize his hands and face. Not here! Go for it, chew on some rocks, my boy and let your nose run while your at it!)

I almost couldn't drink in the solitude deeply enough. I felt so starved of the stillness. The space felt luxurious. Silent enough to appreciate the few sounds, to hear splashing toes echo,without mixing with the noise of half a dozen neighbors, their dogs, mowers, and bbq's sizzling). Nope it was just us.
And I loved it.
Loved how the river valley made a natural shade for us, without umbrellas, and canopies and patio furniture. Loved how the sun drenched the banks across the river, as the hills basked in the last evening rays, like some giant sun bathers, content with a long afternoon of drowsy day-dreaming.

When your at the river, you don't have to overhear people passing by, the excited children, asking"Can I throw rocks like that little boy?!?" Only to hear a "normal", responsible adult reply "Oh no dear, I don't think those rocks were meant for throwing." "But he is!" "Yes, well if we all threw rocks, there won't be any left."  The river doesn't have to abide by rules of scarcity. No one has to be hired to come put rocks back onto the riverbed. In nature things are allowed.

He brought this one to me, heaved it from far up the shore, wanting me to throw it, which I did.
He erupted into such satisfied giggles, I ended up kicking my own sandals off and joining him,
looking for bigger and bigger rocks, resulting in bigger and bigger splashes, producing bigger and bigger giggles, and more and more love in my heart to for my simple boy, who just can find
total joy in throwing rocks.

The only downside? I didn't have my actual camera (which I'm pretty sure my version of "throwing rocks" is taking pictures...just makes me happy). I still got some cute ones even if their "phone" quality.

Aaron could just wander and explore, on his never-ending quest for the right rocks, with his mysterious and indiscernible criteria.
It turned out to be a beautiful outing.
I got to be a little more like Aaron and do things not because that's what people expect, or what is socially acceptable, but because it made sense. Tonight it made sense to let McKye sit in the river in his jeans. It made sense to let Levi suck on stones. It made sense to wade in the river with my son and make him happy by throwing rocks. Cuz he's right, it is fun.

As we were leaving, I saw this sign and thought it pretty much summed up how I felt.


Andy said...Best Blogger Tips

I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing that I just do not care what others think of my parenting style. But I wish you didn't either. You are amazing and that includes how you mother your amazing boys. They are as lucky to have you as you are to have them.
P.s. Were you talking about my dog?!.......I'm so sorry......

Kelly said...Best Blogger Tips

um. AMAZING POST! seriously! Nature is amazing, and Heavenly Father certainly created it for lots of reasons, this time being one. I'm sure He knew that you would need it and this place is close to your house for that reason. AND don't even think that you're one of those mom's who'd get called in. I've seen a lot and you're not even close. you are a fantastic mom because you love your kids. proof: this post. the joy on your kids faces proves that you love them. don't ever forget that :)

Jackie S. said...Best Blogger Tips

Chelsea, I have been blog stalking you from the beginning and am sorry I have never commented on your posts. They are BEAUTIFUL, capture motherhood honestly and so poetically. I have never had the opportunity to see you as a mother but from you posts and knowing the "old" Chelsea I know you are AMAZING!!! Thanks for writing this and reminding me about the little things that REALLY matter. Hugs.

Chelsea Belle said...Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for commenting guys.
Part of me wants to just write this blog "for me" ( see next post) but I admit, part of the appeal and the motivation comes from the thought that I might be helping others, serving them with my words.

So it means a lot when you comment.

PS Jackie! Blog stock me anytime, I think it's fun how the internet can re-connect us with people from other stages of our lives

PPS what dog?