Braver Than I Want Her To Be

 

A man died in our town this week. I didn’t know him but offer my condolences to his family, friends, and anybody that might be reading that did. To be honest, I don’t even know his name.

I know that he died falling from a cliff, if not the exact circumstances. It’s a cliff that has claimed other lives over the years, a several hundred foot drop overlooking a small lake, several miles into the woods. It’s the end point of a long, somewhat arduous trail in a state park nearby, a trail that my daughter and I walk often.

 

too close to the edge

 

We usually stop and turn around when we reach the lake. Little feet get tired and I’ve been tricked before by an overly ambitious partner who wants to go “just a little bit further”, only to be carried the last quarter mile or so back to my truck.

A few weeks ago we went farther. It wasn’t my intention but we had merged into a larger group, little miss social deciding that we were walking with them now. Whether this was because of their stated intention to reach the peak or because they seemed amused by her endless prattle is unclear but they seemed pleasant, she was determined, and there was enough daylight left that I wasn’t too concerned with her stamina levels.

We reached the end and it was awesome, a magnificent view that was everything that’s great about hiking, everything that I hope for her to appreciate when we take these walks.

 

too close to the edge

 

It also scared the shit out of me, mainly because she wasn’t. We saw several people, fully equipped, that had just finished climbing the cliff’s face and several more that were preparing to rappel down. She immediately asked if she could have a “climbing suit” for her birthday so that she could try it next time.

A quick look around, a few pictures, and an argument about how close she was allowed towards the edge and I was ready to start heading back.

 

too close to the edge

 

I love how brave she is but fear that there is a degree of recklessness that needs to be addressed. She told me that she wasn’t afraid of falling to her death because that would just mean that she’d get to Heaven before me, but not to worry – she’d be sure to wait. I don’t want her paralyzed by fear or upset about the concept of death but I need her to respect it, need her to know to stay the hell away from the edge of a cliff that people have died falling from. I honestly don’t know how to find that balance.

In the meantime I think we will stop at the edge of the lake the next time we hike that trail. It also might be time to find some new ones, ones that don’t cause me as much anxiety. There are still plenty of places that we have yet to explore.

Judging by the condition she was in by the time we finally made our way back to the truck, I’m guessing that she may not argue with me about that.

 

too close to the edge

 

 

 

20 thoughts on “Braver Than I Want Her To Be”

  1. My eldest is also completely fearless and genuinely has no concept of the potential of her own fatality. It scares the living daylight out of me. I too, have no idea how to deal with this.
    I’ve nominated you for the Blogger Recognition Award because I enjoy reading your blog. Its really great and refreshing. No pressure to participate – your call. The link is on my blog and I tagged you on Twitter. Have a great day.

    1. I took a quick look, will go back after the school run. I appreciate the kind words and the tag, but to be honest, I usually skip those sorts of things.

  2. That is such a tricky situation to be in as a parent. My youngest was fearless until he was 4 years old. That’s when his Godfather died. Then, suddenly he went to the other end of the spectrum and feared everything. Things have gotten better since then but I didn’t know then how to find that balance for him either. I still don’t know but somehow he has found that balance. I’d like to say I had something to do with it. Maybe I did but I have no idea what part I played in it exactly. Reading this has made me think about it now though. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. I think maybe that just by talking to them about some of these hard subjects, even if we don’t know all the answers or what we should be saying, does a lot of good. At least that’s what I tell myself. Thanks for reading Michelle

  3. The Tubblet is fearful and sensible. Except when she isn’t. Often the things that she won’t do are stuff that we’d like her to have a go at whilst the things she tries are a bit bonkers. We talk about things and hope for the best.

    The comment about waiting for you if she got to heaven is really lovely. Because she’s not mine. If the Tubblet had said that I’d have reacted in exactly the same way

  4. Eerie… we were just hiking there last month. I had not hear d of that but I know my middle son made me a wreck. He has no fear of heights and got way to close to the edge for my comfort.

  5. My youngest is the same, she’s almost three and way more adventurous and daring than her 8 yr old brother ever was or is. She’s also incredibly accident prone and trips over her own feet at least ten times a day. Not a good combination. While I love her determination and admire her fearlessness, a big part of me really hopes she grows out of it!
    #FamilyFunLinky

  6. Woah scary! What an answer as well, to say she’d get to heaven before you, very smart if not a little eye opening. I totally hear what you’re saying though, but not fearing it is one thing but not respecting it is totally another. I am not sure I can offer an guidance on this and just hope you find the answer soon, for your anxiety levels as much as anything. Thanks for joining us at #familyfun

  7. You certainly live in a beautiful area of the world, you’re both very lucky to have hikes that lead to such pretty places! I’m amazed at what a calmed response she gave you about going to Heaven! I’m not sure I know any ways for you to teach her the balance, I’d always accepted fear as a natural response to high cliff edges…It’s good to not be feared, but it’s important to respect potential dangers. Good luck, let us know how it goes! #TriumphantTales

    1. we are fortunate to have quite a few nice hiking spots within a short driving distance. I think I’m going to stick with some of the flatter trails for a while

  8. I just want to wrap mine up in cotton wool like ALL the time. They are so fearless and don’t always understand the risks. Sorry for the late comment, better late than never! Thanks for joining #TriumphantTales.

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