August 20, 2012

Alsea Falls, Oregon.

i HATE monotony and routine.
it drives me CUH.RAE.ZEE.
my kids got the plague, our first week back from va-cay,
[as in vacation]
and we ended up quarantine for a few weeks.
summer sickness should be against the law.
i felt like i couldn't even take them to the park (although i highly considered it), because i didn't want to pass the plague to some sweet, unsuspecting children.
suffice it to say, we were in desperate need of some OUTDOOR fun.
i needed time to just relax and watch my kids play and explore.
i have a few "causes" in life that i'm passionate about.
(i think about these issues a bit more than i think about whether or not congress is going to pass a budget.)
FIRST-- children need time to EXPLORE, to experience life, to be outdoors, to PLAY.
with REAL things- not fake toys.
Parenting today has become too FAKE.
When we lived in Texas i desperately looked for real trees they could climb.
{gasp! a child climbing a tree?!!!}
here in Oregon, we look for WATER-- waterfalls, rivers, beaches.
trees are like air here.
In society today, kids are never aloud to just be KIDS.

Safety has trumped true learning and experiencing.
There are few places left in the world where parents can just let their kids explore without feeling nervous that CPS is going to sweep in an reprimand them.
children need to be able to play free from the condemning eyes of society.
it is GOOD for children to have scraped knees!!
it is good for kids to do hard things.

when you have a large family you CAN NOT be a parent that monitors every move your children make.
i have been forced to learn that IT IS GOOD.

there was a time, when children walked balance beam adventures without two adults spotting them.
sometimes they would fall and gasp, heaven forbid, even break their leg.
and, this is LIFE.
life is not meant to be living in a garden of eden with no bumps or bruises or weeds or hard things.
life is about scrapes and bruises and TESTS and trials and experiencing!!
as a mother, i am desperately seeking opportunities for my kids to experience life.
Alsea Falls was a perfect day trip.
This small waterfall is about 30 minutes from our home.
it is lovely and REAL.
my kids spent all day exploring and working together and being kids.
i LOVED it.
i LOVE the lines of exploration that they make as they zig zag down the river.
slimy rocks, the feel of the current, even a sip of the cold water {gasp!}.
this world is a perfect playground-- and we don't need anyone to take away the dangerous seesaws!
it is GOOD for children to be dropped from a seesaw once in their life-- the next time they climb on they are wiser!
it is good to hurt sometimes, so that you learn.
i LOVE that my children aren't afraid to try new things.
i love that they climb and explore and enjoy life to the fullest.
you should have seen my baby, EVE-- she was pulling me through the water.
ONWARD and UPWARD is her motto.
i love how she experiences with all of her senses.
i love her raw reactions-- she laughs when she feels the current pull.
her words are sparse, but her sounds are so expressive.
she feels the water and squeals with delight as she turns and plops her whole body down into the water.
the touches, she tastes (i do tell her no, because the professor insists she'll get sick. but deep down i LOVE that she tries to put her face in the cold water to really drink it in!), she runs her fingers through the silky water with her eyebrows raised and a sound continually coming from her mouth that means, "Mom!!  Look at this!!"
i love life through the eyes of a baby!

sweet lily is cautious.
i have to take her hand and urge her to come with me.
she smiles and laughs as she gingerly steps her way through the water.
she asks many questions and laughs an "oh" at each answer.
because she is afraid and timid, every step is a victorious experiences.
she is two inches taller when we leave and full of "Mom, remember when we..." tales to tell.
i love it.

adventurous Leah makes friends quickly.
She is always asking if she can go play with her new friend.
i love that she is social and daring.
she is a good link from the big kids to the little kids.
she wants to be with the big kids, but she is always looking back to see where i am.
leah is not afraid to go far-- but she needs me to be connected.
when she's standing there on a rock, wanting to swim to the shore--
she needs me to say, "You can do it, it is not too far."
she usually earns herself at least one time-out for doing something that i tell her not to do.
leah needs one time-out and then she listens to my small head shakes that mean, "No, don't throw that large rock down off that cliff when there are children playing below you."
she is beautiful and happy and full of life.
she NEEDS these days to be completely herself, surrounded by as much stimulation as she could ever hope for.
God made us a good earth.

my older kids are getting older.
i LOVE watching them work together and help each other.
as they were deciding whether or not to play IN the waterfall, i watched from a distance.
i saw the hands they offered each other as they made their way across the icy water.
i saw wise jakob take a protective stance a bit down river, to save any sibling that might need him.

i saw careful drew spot the girls with tree branches.
i saw fun ellie first to volunteer and first to go under the raging waters.
she was also first to get wet-- she is notorious for slipping in small amounts of water.
and she LOVES to be wet.
she is always happy outdoors.
brave anna is determined.
she can sit the longest in the frigid water, and she was the first to go completely under the waterfall.
she went under the most times and she was also the only one to get hurt.
just some scratches and bruises when she fell.
poor girl.
(although i did snap this picture, her next step was into my arms!)
she was afraid for a moment-- but her many moments of victorious bravery far outshone her one fall.

i have spent many indoor hours listening to Mormon Channel while i cook and clean and organize.
a series called, "Endure it Well" features many in life who have had great trials as they tell how they've endured them well.
it is fascinating to me to listen to these wise people share the lessons life has taught them.
one thing has stood out to me--
trials and test are part of God's plan of happiness.
we hope all of our children will live to adulthood and grandparenthood-- but we NEVER know.
our tomorrows are not guaranteed.
i want my children to ENJOY this LIFE.
i want them to learn and grown and really SEE this world.
i want them to get wet, to fall down, to brush themselves off and try again!!
can you see the inchworm?
Life is about playing in the waterfalls!
and it is good.
LOOK at their smiling faces!!


Aimee said...

What a good mom you are! After reading this post I feel like I need to lighten up :)

beckyjune said...

You are so right, Jen. We have one week left before school starts and we are going to get out of this house this afternoon. I hope you guys are doing great!

here's to you said...

Amen to the great outdoors and kids being kids! When we lived in Texas the children couldn't play on the playground equipment until the 2nd half of the year -- after they had gotten "bigger". So they had to just play around it. And they could not run on the playground. Such nonsense. sticks and rocks and slivers and scabby knees. That is being a kid.

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