It all came together nicely; Bart had a day off school, my boss owed me comp time for making me work on my birthday day off, and the weather was unbelievable. So I took yesterday off and Bart and I headed to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science for a marathon day of endless walking and stairs shows and exhibits. It was a Perfect Moment Monday. Aside from the sudden urges to randomly strangle the screaming and unruly bus-loads of school children, the experience was delightful. The planetarium show was short but enlightening, the natural disasters exhibit was sad but thought-provoking, hunting for leprechauns in the dioramas and being dazzled by the gems and minerals never gets old, and the IMAX was a crowd-pleaser as always.
In a recent conversation with Bart, it came to light that the few years we have together before his Great Emancipation will fly by so quickly. Ten seems so young and innocent but in the blink of an eye he will be seventeen, dating, working, and itching for more independence than living at home with Mom can offer. These outings together are memories I will cling to desperately one day.
We watched the IMAX film about the Grand Canyon and followed the explorations of an author/photographer and his teen-aged daughter as they set out on their last trip together before she left for college. When the water splashed the camera over the edge of the raft, or a kayaker went over a waterfall, Bart gripped my hand tightly.
I’ve taken two white-water rafting trips, one down a class IV rapids not so long ago. I’m a hopeless adrenaline junkie and seriously frustrated sometimes by my son’s apparent lack of such desires. I’ve tried so hard to interest him in rafting or kayaking but alas, even crawling over steep obstacles in a Jeep is enough to make him get out and walk. Sigh. Have I mentioned that I’m a mean mom? I have this insatiable urge to push him out of his little paternally inherited comfort zone. He needs to live a little, for pete’s sake. Sitting there in that dark theater I made a decision. The boy is going rafting. This summer. Come hell (or preferably) high water.
I leaned over and whispered in his ear, “We’re gonna do that.” And over lunch I brought it up again. I made it clear that it was not optional. And no, it wouldn’t be class IV or anything, and it would only be a little tiny bit scary, and I promised he’d survive. He took the news surprisingly well. In the back of my mind a ball had begun rolling. As I thought about it, I came up with a few things I want him to learn or experience before he leaves home. On my way to work this morning I thought of more things and I realised that a list was forming … a bucket list of parenting you might say.
Before his eighteenth birthday I want him to:
- take a rafting trip with me and learn to kayak
- take a gun safety and marksmanship class
- learn and demonstrate basic survival skills
- take a first aid course
- learn proper gentleman’s etiquette (ya know – how to “clean up nice”, smell good, dress with some taste, open doors, and give a firm handshake, etc)
- try to learn to play a musical instrument
- learn basic dancing skills
- and as long as I’m enjoying this little pipe dream, he can promise me he won’t get married or knock up any girl before he’s 25. Yeah right.
Seriously though, there are some things a guy needs to know. He may hate me for making him do some of it (it might surprise you which things), but he’ll thank me some day.
What’s on your parenting bucket list?