Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Let Them Be Boys

My husband and two younger boys, ages 10 and 13, just returned from a week long canoe/kayak trip in the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. This is a very remote part of Maine near the Canadian border. No towns. No paved roads. No cell service. Just lots and lots of moose and other wildlife. It's the perfect place to just be a boy.

I have to admit that I was very nervous about my family going off to the wild wilderness with no way to contact them. I have every confidence in my "Eagle-Scout-always-be-prepared" hubby and knew that he would make sure the kids were safe. However, I knew it would be "dad-safe" which is vastly different from "mom-safe."

We moms tend to want to be sure our kiddos are safe from everything we can possibly prevent. However, I have learned over the last 18 years of being a mom to boys that sometimes I have to look the other way and simply trust. I have to trust that they will be okay. I have to trust that my husband, who was once a boy himself, knows what boys need to do to grow up to be confident men. I also have to trust that God will keep them safe. After all, He loves them far more than I ever could.

My crew arrived home on Saturday evening and the stories began to fly. I knew that this would be a lasting memory for my boys. I knew that they would have "remember when" stories to tell for a long time. I also knew it was a very good thing I learned of all the stories after it was all said and done.

That moose above? He showed up on the beach one morning, bright and early, while my middle son was fishing. He was sitting on the beach trying to get his lure on just right when he looked up and saw the huge beast a mere 15 feet away. If you've never seen a moose in person, they are big with a capital B! This one was roughly 900+ pounds. A very big moose!

Thankfully it was before "the rut" or mating season and he was pretty docile. Had it been a few weeks later, things might have turned out very different. Moose get very aggressive when they are searching for a mate. He checked my boy over and then headed in to the water to eat some tasty grass. My poor kiddo was shaking with the adrenaline rush. All the adults were ready to come to his rescue as soon as they realized what was happening.

James, which is what they named the moose, stuck around most of that day and the next and even kindly posed for some photo ops.

My youngest and his best friend with "James" in the background. 

The boy fun didn't stop there though. They came across a swimming area with ledges on one of the last days they were there. Maine has a lot of bedrock so swimming areas like this are fairly common. The adults made sure the water was deep (more than 20 feet I was told) and that the kids would be fine. They all started to jump off. 

My youngest son jumping for all he is worth.

I know that as a Mom, I would have been second guessing this decision the whole time. I sometimes get in the way of my boys exploring and experiencing life in such a way that they will grow in to the men they need to be - adventurous, brave, and self-confident.

Some of the best advice I ever received as a new mom was this -

"Do not ask your husband to help with the baby 
and then criticize his efforts." 

This doesn't just count for infants. It pertains no matter how old the child may be. Unless your child is in immediate danger from whatever is being done, bite your tongue. Let your husband figure it out. Yes, there will be days when they have cereal for supper or even ice-cream (we actually did that last night!). There will be days when they will have mismatched clothes that are also dirty. There will even be days when they stay up too late, eat too much sugar, and are still bouncing off the walls at midnight. You need to trust your husband though. If you are constantly second guessing him or telling him how to do things, he will stop helping all together.

My youngest son in blue. His friend is in orange. 

Boys love to climb on things. When they came across these abandoned train engines in the woods they did what all boys must do. Climb. As my hubby told me, "they were all over them." Again, this is a time when, as boys, they need to explore. They need to test their abilities. They need to see what their limits are. As moms, we sometimes hinder this exploration. Even now I sometimes struggle with it. I keep learning, though, that they need this. It is what boys are made of and we simply need to let them be boys. 

Lisa is a wife to Bob. They just began their 21st year of marriage. She is also a mom to three boys (ironic, no?). Her oldest will soon be 18 but still has one more year at home. Her middle son is 13 and her youngest is 10. She also stays busy by homeschooling her children and watching a two-year old (a boy of course) full-time as well as other assorted children as the need arises for family and friends. She is very active in her local and state homeschooling community. She is also a very avid reader, enjoys writing, loves dancing at Zumba class, and checking Facebook a little too often. Lisa strives daily to become more Christ-like. She is reminded often of the Lord's mercy and grace and is thankful that He is so gracious to extend to her on a much needed basis. She lives in Maine on her own piece of "no-where land" with her family.

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