Saturday, 5 September 2009

Several days ago I read a post about the vulnerability of children and the terror a parent can feel about the dangers a child can face. She was talking about a seven year old. My daughters are now in their forties, well integrated adults with good careers, nice homes and money in the bank. So I should pat myself on the back and settle back in my rocking chair, content that they are safe? Sigh. Today I took a look at the photos taken on a canoe trip the YD took on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.

One of the first photos I saw was this.
A little later, I came upon this one.

The YD is home quite intact, cleaning her equipment after a successful trip, sorting her photographs and, she tells me, writing up the experience. I may fall asleep tonight with images of red canoe bottoms floating through my mind.

I am not and never was a risk taker. I have gone on long distance swims, but never without a boat as escort. I stay away from the edges of even small drops. I drive 115 km per hour on the 401. (Getting caught at 120 km per hour nets you a big fine.) I do not eat wild mushrooms. I am, in fact, quite a cautious person. How, then, did it come about that I have an adrenaline junkie, a happy gambler, a chronic risk taker (you can imagine my voice rising shrilly as the list goes on) for a younger daughter. It must come from her father's side of the family.

I have photographs of my precious child rappelling down a rope from a helicopter, floating down out of the sky under a parachute, balancing on a ridiculously narrow piece of rock on the side of a cliff many hundreds of feet above solid ground, kayaking down a waterfall in Mexico. There is a video of her bungee jumping off a bridge over the gorge at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. She went, hiking, solo, in the Namibian dessert. She has tales of driving in land mine infested territory in Kosovo and Mozambique. When she was robbed on a beach in South Africa, she chased the thief. And that's just what I know about.

Strangely enough, I don't worry about her a lot when she is off on one of her mad adventures. The YD is a supremely competent and skilled adventurer. I feel confident that she knows what she is doing and won't do it unless she believes her skill level is up to it. (Although she has said that once through the Grand Canyon is enough.) Her father worries - enough for both of us.

But I do wonder what she will decide to try next.


  1. Oh lordie... here I thought those screaming anxieties would stop when they become adults. At least mine is cautious - too cautious sometimes and yet still manages to break something once every couple of years.

  2. I don't think a parent can ever really stop worrying about their children. I think it must be against the laws of nature. I'm glad yd enjoys her adventures :)

  3. She's living life large. Our second tends in that direction too but not as much as yours.

  4. Kids! They break something -- one of mine broke her collar bone and the next day I found her climbing a pine tree one handed. They take chances. They think they are invulnerable; while you know they are not and shudder and shake. Xup, caution is good. Believe me.
    Kaye, I do still worry, but not as much as I did when my girls were young and thought they were immortal. I remember wishing they were interested in needlepoint or something rather than gymnastics (the elder) and wild water sports. But, hey, a kid can prick her finger on a needle, it can go septic and ........
    Anvilcloud, I don't understand it but I know she loves it all.
    Loth, mine grew up, the bones knit, the scrapes healed, and I caught up on my sleep. Mostly.
    I find I am much more nervous with the grandchild, probably because I don't see her daily and track what her capacities are.

  5. At least I was upright in the second picture ... (and I am sorry that I cause worries!) And for sure - I know I am no longer invulnerable.

  6. Apparently, you have done a wonderful job in raising a supremely confident young woman who is independent and self-assured. Congratulations.

  7. I'm very cautious too, so I love to hear about all her marvelous experiences. I wish I was braver, but sometimes she's just crazy.

    I think my youngest is taking after her. Her favourite activity is the climbing wall and has been since she discovered it at age 4. I can't decide if it is a bad thing or a good thing that YD is so far away ....