A big part of my focus lately as R's parent has been on making sure he has time to be wild. I don't mean crazy and out of control. I mean giving him access to places where he can be free to run, explore, and climb. I mean time outside, not just at the playground or on the paved bike path, but in the woods, at the ocean, in caves, knee-deep in rivers. Places where he can get dirty and wet and where he can find crabs, snails, snakes, bugs, and fish.
It has made a huge difference for R. He needs that time. I wish it could be more often because of the freedom and joy it gives him. It's not like his world at home is full of rules and restrictions, but in wild places, we all seem to relax and breathe easier. I've thought pretty seriously about moving somewhere where R could have that access to nature and wildness daily, instead of just on the weekends or during vacations. But for now, that's all we can give him. At least we're lucky enough to be able to do that.
Last weekend, we visited my dad and walked down to the nearby river. We toted R's fishing rod and Star Wars tackle box, and R and A fished while my dad cooked up hot dogs on a little grill. Using pieces of hot dog for bait, R caught two fish. Hanging out with his dad and grandpa and me, eating in the woods with yellow jackets and mosquitoes for companions, catching fish and learning how to unhook them and let them go again (and that fish are really slimy) -- all of that made for an amazing experience, one that R will always remember.
Suze Orman mentioned on her show the other day some study that found that people end up placing far more value on experiences in their lives than on material things. R and I talked about that this week, and he agreed with the findings. My job as his mom is to make sure he has those memorable experiences. For him, I think most of those experiences will involve wildness and freedom. And, I hope they do -- because I'm realizing he's not the only one who needs to be wild.