Monday, July 13, 2009

The Lost Boys

The Lost Boys found my boys today at the creek.

I took my kids to a nearby stream and walkway for a day outdoors. We packed a lunch and as every good suburban mom knows, you pack sunscreen. I even remembered water so I was so proud of myself.

As we walked to the stream, three rough and tumble kids found my kids. I took our lunch to the table and by the time I turned around, one of the boys had my five year old near an opening to the stream and the other had my older son into a thick brush near fast moving water. Panic is the only word I can find to use. I quickly saved each child and explained that I would not want to go swimming at nine months pregnant into this fast moving stream of water.

The Lost Boys would not get lost.

They then hung out with us as we looked for frogs and turtles. They started climbing on the outside of the water lookout and we were ready to fall into the water. Again, I tried to explain how as the only adult here, I would have to jump in and save them if they fell. I needed a way to lose the Lost Boys.

The only problem, my boys LOVED the Lost Boys.

They were wild.
They were cool.
They had no mom trying to put suncreen on them.
They didn't tie their shoes.
Their mom was at home.
They did whatever they want.
They caught cool animals and took them home.
They looked for adventure.
They knew where everything was in this park.
They knew everything.

Mom did not.

I didn't know what to do. I am always yelling at them to get outdoors. Meet friends. Play. But when they did and I couldn't control the situation, I nearly lost it.

Two hours at the park today really challenged me and how my kids are raised. The Lost Boys were very different from my boys. The whole time I am thinking "Where is their mother?" I was judging. Anyone could have taken these kids and no one would have a clue. They live nearby. They said they come here all the time. I am sure, alone. I realized how overprotective I am. Our parents growing up would have been at a stream like the boys today, all alone. They were probably more normal than my boys. My boys are so pampered. The boys reminded me of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. So ready for an adventure. My boys can barely find adventure in our backyard. I don't know what the answer is. Times are different and we really watch out for every possible danger for our children. Is it a good thing? I don't know. What are they missing? They are safe but at what cost? I just don't know.


Kat said...

Ha! I'm the same way. I watch my boys every move, especially by water. But growing up my parents never watched me. I would be outside with my neighbor from sun up to sun down stopping in only for lunch. Times have changed.

It also makes me a little sad though because if the Lost Boys were hanging around you a lot maybe they were looking for some adult attention, ya know? I do question where the parents were. How old were the boys? Hmmm...

Flea said...

It's a struggle, knowing what to do. I gave in years ago. Those boys could very well have been mine just a few years ago. We've had our fair share of turtles and frogs. Muddy jeans to the hip. Cut feet. Sunburns. It's AWESOME.

Genny said...

I've thought about this before too. We recently saw the movie Sand Lot and I tried to imagine my son heading off to play baseball by himself all the time like the boys in the movie did, but I couldn't. In a way, it made me sad. It was fun to see a group of boys just being boys--having unsupervised fun. And as much as I'd love to see my son do that, I'd worry about him. Sometimes it's hard to know when you are being overprotective or not.

Anonymous said...

MMmmm ... good post! It's all about balance really. How you find that balance, I'm still struggling with.

I often wish that my kids could experience the same "with reckless abandon" that I felt as a kid .. exploring and splashing and getting muddy ... and not coming home until dark.

Jessica said...

I chuckle as I took my 2 kiddos to Aspen last week. In the middle of the gorgeous outdoors, they thought the best adventure was taking the little city bus everywhere.

What stream were you at? My little guy would love that.

amyjr said...

I agree with Naomi, it is all about balance but in this day and age what is the balance??
I will always remember the running around all summer and my mom yelling for us to come in for lunch, dinner etc but today we all read the newspaper and internet and know..IT is out there..somewhere...

Kelbabe said...

Girlfriend, I am the exact same way and I wish I could be more at ease. Heck, I think I'm doing good when I let my 4 year old play "behind" my chair at her sisters ball game (instead of being right next to me or right in front of me)! I'm always thinking the worst case scenario of what could happen. I wasn't raised like this but it is a different time. As others have said, I remember being gone all day and coming home for dinner. No cell phones. We rode our bikes everywhere, walked everywhere, cut through the woods. No checking in. There weren't any worries. Then again, I don't think there was so much wierd crap on the news involving children as there is today. I soooo truly wish I could be more at ease.

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