There’s a tree down the street from our house. It’s branches are splayed left and right, front and back, one after another. It is the perfect climbing tree. And my kids love to climb it.
As a kid I was a bit of a dare devil. If a tree could be climbed, I scaled it to the top. If a bench was before me, I tried to flip off of it. If I could climb to the very tip of a mountain, I did it, then hung over the side for good measure. Remember, I am the same child who thought it would be a good idea to climb onto the roof out of her second story window as a kid simply because I wanted to see what the world would look like from the very tip of our house. And it is but a miracle that I didn’t break my neck trying to get away from the nest of horse flys that I stepped in on my ascent to the top.
I can distinctly remember as a kid, my mom giving me the freedom to explore while watching warily and saying a frillion times, “Kelli. Be careful. Kelli. Slow down. Kelli!” To me, it was hilarious watching her get nervous and scared because “Moooomm, I’m totally cool. I got it.” Then I’d plunge backwards and flip off the top of the football goal at our local high school.
Or hiking with my dad in Colorado the summer before my senior year, when we got to the top of Pike’s Peak, I thought it was so funny to climb down onto a little ledge over an expansive cavern below andhave dad take a picture of me from ground level looking like I was hanging on for dear life. Dad laughed, took the picture, then demanded that I get back up on solid ground before I gave him a heart attack.
So it shouldn’t be a surprise to me that my kids are a little dare devilish. And I probably deserve the hyperventilation that comes from watching them. As I stood under the tree last night watching Tia slither in and out of the branches, all but swinging from limb to limb by one arm, I got so panicked that I had to turn away. Lee laughed, Sloan and Tia cackled and I told them to hurry up and finish and get back on solid ground before I had a heart attack. In my minds eye, all I could see was one of them plumetting to the ground and my heart raced.
It’s the same feeling I get when we go to a local park that has a significant hiking trail. At one point, there is a rock that juts out over a large ravine and the kids love to go sit out on the rock and look out over the sky. I don’t blame them – it’s exhilerating. But I can’t watch. Lee has to go with them and I have to walk away so I can’t see them teetering 100 feet off the ground. Of course it’s not like they’re anywhere near the edge of the rock and they have to sit or stand very still, but I always envision them tripping and plunging and sweet mercy, I’m gonna be ill…
Mom, dad, I’m sorry for the grey hairs on your head that were caused by my insanity. If it’s any consolation, I’m pretty sure I’ll be grey early. Go ahead, I give you full permission to throw your head back and break forth with an almighty laugh of satisfaction….
Okay, that’s good. You can stop laughing now.