Thursday, January 24, 2013

thick and thin ice

there was a time when i worried about leaving him alone in his high chair.  a time when i had to buckle him into his car seat.  a time when i had to help him with his math facts and tuck in his covers. there was a time when i worried about him climbing too high in the oak tree or swimming too far in the deep end or staying up too late at a friend's house.

there was a time.

when we become mothers we are given not only children, but we're also given this extra dose of worry.  it kind of goes with the territory.  and though i would never consider myself to be an extreme worrier, i am not immune. no mother is.  it's just part of the deal.  we worry.  whether it is wondering if he is getting enough green vegetables in his diet or stressing over if he's studying enough for his final his mom, i am kind of along for the ride.

but there's this fine line...this delicate balance.  sometimes as parents, we are sort of skating on thin ice with our kids.  we know they need a little wiggle room...a dose of adventure and a good taste of independence...but we also know too much can send them crashing right through the thin ice of life.  we have to know our kids and know what they can handle and that, my friends, takes a lot of work and even more energy.  i want my boys (and my girls, for that matter) to have my support and encouragement along the way.  i want them to know i am there to cheer them on from the sidelines or even run with them in the game, but i am also still the one who has to sometimes put on the breaks or tighten the reins.

this mothering thing isn't always easy.  (can i get an a-men?)

since moving to minnesota last summer, we have had a 14,528 acre lake right in our backyard.  it is breathtaking to see...amazing to look at...inspiring to consider...but it is also a bit of a pain in the backside of this mother.  it, at the very least, provides some potentially dangerous issues we need to deal with.

tyler's a smart boy, but he has this incredible zest for the outdoors and big adventure.  his favorite show: man vs. wild.  what can i say, my boy is wired for this stuff.  i can remember him as a small kid whittling sticks in our woods...making forts and weapons and shelter.  i've watched him dig up grubs and catch crawfish in the creek.  the boy loves to fish and explore and i'm sure, at some level (though he'd never admit it) he loves to pretend.  he's a lot like his mama. (except i'm not all that much into digging up grubs).

and living on this lake has been no different.  we traded in our wooded acres and trails back in georgia for this massive lake minnetonka.  ("minne" means water and "tonka" means big).  i'm pretty sure there hasn't been a day since moving, that i haven't watched him meander down to the "big water" out back.  sometimes i find him standing before the great window at the rear of the house just watching the lake.  standing and staring.  i understand that, i stand and stare quite a bit, too.

the summer was filled with kayaking and jet skiing and late night fishing.  i, of course, worried about him being out on the water.  i didn't want him down there alone.  i wanted his kayak to stay within sight. i insisted on life jackets and certain obvious (at least to me) precautions.  when he balked or argued i calmly explained, "sorry, it's part of my job."

oh, no...this mothering thing isn't always easy.   (another a-men, please.)

i waited for winter to come and kind of breathed a sigh of relief when everything turned cold and frozen.  surely now he was safe.    the open water was gone and in it's place a gigantic, 2 feet thick glacier had arrived.  except that ice has it's own issues as well.  what was i thinking?  he wasn't safe.  not safe at all.  if that basic knowledge isn't enough there's this huge flashing sign just outside of our neighborhood which says, "sheriff's advisory -- ice is never safe." i drive by it at least 5 times a day.  i have to be honest, i'm getting a bit annoyed with it.  "stop reminding me!" i want to yell. "i know the ice isn't safe...i know my kids aren't really safe. ever. anywhere. i get it already!"

this might not surprise you, but my 15 year old son isn't thinking about safe.

the gas powered auger from the carlins
which shaves a hole through the ice.
i think, if he's not careful,
he could end up shaving all the
 way to china with it!
no, tyler isn't thinking about safety, but he is thinking about all the ice has to offer.  he had two items at the top of his christmas list this year:  an ice auger and an ice fishing rod.  some friends offered to let him borrow their ice house/tent and some of their gear, as well. (a shout out to the carlin family -- thank you!)  all he's missing is the 6 pack of beer and an unshaven face. NO! NO! NO!  ice house, ice fishing rod, auger, space heater ... and all of a sudden my southern raised boy has transformed into a minnesota man.  (he would really hate that i just wrote that -- we'll see if he reads my blog).

today the temperatures were as low as negative 14 degrees with a windchill at minus 35.  but after a half day of school, guess where i found tyler this afternoon.  yep, you guessed it, out on the ice.  and he literally spent the rest of the day out there. after a couple of hours, i decided it was time to check on him (and take a few pictures).  so with a thermos of hot chocolate (my excuse) in one hand and my camera in the other, i headed down to the 14, 583 acre glacier.  in case you were wondering what a camera toting, hot chocolate bringing mother wears in negative 14 degree weather when visiting her son in his ice house, i made sure to have sarah snap a picture.  nice, huh?
can you say e s -  k i -  m o !

so, here's what i found when i got down there...

that would be his breath, he may be ice fishing, 
but he hasn't taken up smoking cigarettes. =) 

there's even a seat in the pop up tent!

his spear! what every boy needs.

kind of freaky to see the ice...but if you look, you can see it is about 2 feet thick.

the hole continues to freeze over (because it's THAT cold) so he uses this ladle to remove the icy layer.

things like space heaters really do help!

before seeing "the hole" i was worried that he could fall in. i assure you, not possible.

"see ya later, mom." and back in he goes.

these characters are right next door...we've decided they don't have jobs.  they (and their truck) are ALWAYS out on the ice. we think they sleep there.

i got to the top of the hill,  looked back out...and thought to myself, 
"there once was day when i wouldn't leave him alone in his high chair..."

so that's it folks.  just another tiny slice of our minnesota life.  and maybe a reminder or two, that we, moms and dads, are often walking a little bit on thin ice ourselves.  it is not always easy to get good footing or to find that perfect balance while watching our kids grow up.  it's a grand adventure for sure -- one i wouldn't trade for anything.  this parenting thing keeps us humbled and, if we're following the lead of Jesus, it keeps us on our knees.   whether strapped into their high chairs or let loose on the ice, these precious kiddos belong first to God...and we have to trust Him, both, in their safety and in their adventures.

solid ground or solid ice...this parenting thing isn't ever easy.
and all together now, the people say...  A-MEN!

* p.s.    tyler sent this picture to his sister...he caught 9 fish that day.
and like any good fisherman, he'd want to make sure i included that fact in this story! 


Simply LKJ said...

Oh I can sympathize! Mark grew up on Lake Huron. Talked me into going out to his friends "ice house" one year. Talk about cold, bitter cold, and crazy!! But, after seeing numerous cars/trucks on the ice I began to relax a bit, yes, just a bit. But, vowed never to do it was FREEZING!!!

Paige said...

Love this!!! and no I can't even imagine that cold!!!

Aus said...

Nice fish!! And great parenting - it's not easy on a good feel the same way as the kids approach their 30's!

I lived in Michigan for 3 years, and vacationed there for many more - on Mackinac Island they load supplies for the summer (no bridge if you didn't know - the Big Mac connects the upper and lower penn's) from January to about March by truck. They use discarded Christmas Trees to mark the "road" because frequently the weather is too bad to see more than a few hundred feet - and while the ice is never "safe" it's no great danger either - it's a part of the adventure...and I get that!

Oh - and before I leave - Amen - Amen and Amen!! ;)

hugs - aus and co.

snekcip said...

Hmmm so that's what ICE FISHING entails!! Great post!! Makes me the fish need to be put on ice afterwards? They seriously should be frozen solid it seems!:)

Great post!! Loving each one and glad to be a new follower to your blog!