Monday, April 12, 2010

might as well jump

There's my Dakota Wolf, 4th from front, on the 3 hour hike up the mountain

The first thing you need to know right now is that I let Dakota jump off The Bridge to Nowhere. I wasn't there. His dad wasn't there. He JUMPED OFF A BRIDGE WITH MY PERMISSION.

Watch him jump. That's my flesh and blood, there.

Not only that, but he jumped off a bridge that any writer would have recognized as instant trouble due to horribly metaphoric name, which although really just refers to the fact that no traffic visits the bridge, really skeeves me out.

Why? Because he's 15. Because life is meant to be experienced. Because the company who pushed my son off a bridge also pushes stars off bridges, and they're OK. Because they've never had a single accident. Because probably letting him drive a hunk of steel down the streets of this town is more dangerous than flying off a bridge with ten metal hooks attached to a harness around his precious body. Because I am the damn coolest mom you will ever meet. I have serious neurotic tendencies and a special place in my mind reserved for crazy, and I won't put my fear into my kids. Maybe because I say NO a LOT. More than his friends parents, he says, and I'm pretty sure that's true, from what I see. Maybe my priorities are fucked up, if I see bungee jumping less dangerous than 'safe drinking' (don't get me started) or staying out till all hours unsupervised at 15.

His good friend Dillon invited him to go, all expenses paid. I talked to the Dad. I visited the website. I bit my nails. I lost sleep. I said yes. And he went, and he jumped, and he flew.


Still Life With Coffee said...

You are an awesome mom! Love this post. I hope I can be as brave as you. Kids need this type of risk taking. They do.

jennifer said...

freakin awesome!!

Amanda said...

That's awesome! He's going to appreciate you letting him live his life like that.

krista said...

that's insanity.
(i only say that because i'm afraid of heights, though.)

Simply Mel said...

You rock as a mama (and many other things too - like writer, poet, wife.....)!

Therese said...

WOOT WOOT!! What an amazing experience for him. That is rad. For both of you.

Claire Beynon said...

Bravo, Maggie May - and Bravo Dakota!

He flew... you both did!

La Belette Rouge said...

He's not my son and I couldn't bear to watch him. You both are brave!

Allegra Smith said...

The best advice I ever got about raising my children, the most important one to me, was to give them roots and wings. I did. Not only in the metaphorical sense but in the real one. Travel the world, make friends in other countries, take calculated risks, all of those things that make a whole human being more whole, more sacred, more human.

Good for you and good for him. But mostly good for you. He will never forget this just as he would have never forgotten if you said no. You were wise beyond your fears, my dear Maggie May.

Elisabeth said...

I know that rush of fear when our children take risks, but you're right we need to let them go.

I have a poem somewhere. I can't locate it just now but someone introduced it at an evening talk given to parents several years when our daughters were about to go off to a tough school camp.

The poem talks about the way a mother eagle needs to know instinctively when to push her fledgling out from the nest.

If she does not the young eagle will never learn to fly and will perish. It's all in the timing, the knowledge gleaned through the generations, the love of one for the other that lets us know when to let him go.

Vashti said...

Yeah I think you are pretty awesome! What an amazing experience for him. Not that I would do it myself.

Elizabeth said...

That's awesome! What a photo! What a boy! What a mother!

Alesa Warcan said...

Indeed, who knows what drinking and staying out late might lead to, something unthinkable... to being an author! (just said for the line, of course I understand the need for limits on a teenager)
Would you have said yes had he asked beforehand?

Beth said...

We have to let them fly/jump some day - this was just a preview.
You're a good mom. :)

Johanna said...

This rules!

I wish I was as fearless as Dakota. Even at 15, I wouldn't have the gumption to leap off a bridge. He is a maniac! :)

Petit fleur said...

Not sure what I'd have done in that position, but I know what I that I would have wanted to be cool enough to say yes!

I think things like this can be life altering sometimes, because even though it is as safe as it can be, anything can happen... and it has got to be scary! And once you survive something scary, there is a new confidence that emerges.

yippie for flying!

Ms. Moon said...

This reminds me of something Anne Lamott would have done/written about. Need I say more in the awesome department?
Good choice, Mama. Lettin' your baby fly.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

You are a good mom, Maggie May!

Ida Mae said...

this is great!

I can only hope to be half as cool a Mom as you obviously are :)

~Ida Mae

deb said...

way to go Mom Maggie.
Sometimes the yes is harder than the no.

although once we went overboard and went white water rafting together, to say yes as a family, and no we didn't technically go overboard, but next time I'll just sign the form thank you very much:)

Claire Marie said...

You are the coolest mom ever! I'm so jealous, I need to do that one of these days.

clearness said...

The water the kids are walking through looks so clean and clear. You don't see that too much.

Phoenix said...

Good on you, letting your child fly...he won't forget that you helped him find freedom instead of keeping him locked up, I promise.

My parents weren't excellent. Okay, one was downright violent and horrible. But they rarely said no...probably because they were dealing with their own problems.

And I flew. And I still fly.

Sunday's Pearl said...

Now THAT is what I need to do! How free youth is... I want it back!
And I missed you:)

Amy said...

Oh Maggie, I love this. I too am determined not to put my fear and nuerotic tendencies into my child. And I agree with you. I'd much rather have my kid jump off a bridge (ok that freaks me out as I write it) than "safe drinking."

thenextarrow said...

so cool. good for you giving the go. i will always be indebted and closer to my parents because of the freedom they gave me in my mid-teens. made me who i am today :)

xo Alison

K Soucy said...

Good for you mama, I'd say you jumped too. Inspiring.

Jennifer said...

Lucky boy. Lucky mom.

Lola Sharp said...

Mags, I seriously think this is my FAVORITE post of yours, ever.

Word!

Mwa said...

Of course you did.

Lovely World said...

Brave mama. I look forward with wonder and a wee bit of dread to what my children will do/want/be as teens. And what is "safe" drinking for teens?

katydidnot said...

Well fine, but just as long as he doesn't do it just because everyone else is doing it.

All This Trouble... said...

Dude.

Kim Hosey said...

So awesome! Way way cool. Good for you.

Mel said...

You are the coolest mom, I know exactly what you mean about not wanting to spread your fear to them. And I think you're right that bungee jumping is statistically safer than driving down the street in a car.
He flew! And so did you, by letting him go. He will remember this trip forever, won't he?

Steph(anie) said...

I say no more than other moms too. Glad you said yes to this, though.

mames said...

i live a few miles from that bridge, hiked it once but never jumped. it is awesome that he did, and that you were open to letting him. good mama.

RottenMom said...

It's really hard to not to let our fears become theirs. I have a hard time letting go on many things. The hardest so far, helping my son move to NYC. Your son is a lucky boy to have you.

Julia Christie said...

You are an incredible mom...it is sometimes the hardest thing to let them go ...even if it is a little at a time.

Good for you!

Smiles

Shona Leah said...

You both are all kinds of AWESOME!!

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