Thursday, July 19, 2012

Jumping off a cliff

We went on a vacation a couple of weeks ago and went camping at Inks Lake in Burnet, Texas. (Highly recommend it--beautiful spot.) The water was nice and the weather was surprisingly cooler than we expected in the middle of July. 

One spot in particular was interesting -- it's called the Devil's Waterhole. The granite cliff is about 30 feet high, with a couple of flat spots that are lower. My little man watched people jump off the cliff into the lake, and he decided he wanted to do it.

I've mentioned before that I have a fear of heights. This extends to a fear of heights for my children, even though they have no issues with height. When T. announced that he was going to climb the cliff and jump off, I was not on board. But my hubby encouraged him to try. So off he went.

Watching your eight-year-old child climb a rock he's about to jump off of for the first time can be a bit scary. Every time he paused I would hold my breath. I watched him scale up the rock and tried to encourage him to jump off the lower spots. Nope. He was going to where the people were -- up to the top.

He stood at the top of the cliff, looked down, looked over to where I was to make sure his Dad and I were watching, and then jumped. I waited for him to come up -- it took longer than I hoped -- and he popped up with a gigantic grin on his face. I don't know how many times he climbed that rock and jumped off that cliff, but after a while I wasn't so scared for him anymore.

I encourage my little man to try new things; he's my cautious one. But why do I get so freaked out when he tries new things that on the surface look dangerous, but are actually pretty safe? There's a part of me that thinks: Good for him; he rose to the challenge. There's another part of me that thinks: Please don't, please don't, please don't.

As a Mom I sometimes feel that letting my kids try something a little outside my comfort zone is much like jumping off a cliff. You have to climb to that spot, take a look around and assess that it really is safe, and then take the leap of faith and enjoy the ride.

I can only imagine it gets worse as they start driving, go off to college, etc. Does that proud/scared combo ever go away?

Reace Alvarenga-Smith is a Mom of two in the Dallas/Fort Worth area

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