When I was six, we lived across the street from a park that had a tall slide in the shape of a rocket. My sister and I were sometimes taken to the park, but my grandmother, with whom we were living at the time, insisted that we weren't allowed to go on any of the playground equipment because it was deemed too dangerous. Sometimes we would press our noses against the glass of the picture window in our living room and fantasize about what it would be like to slide down the rocket slide. That slide still looms large in the lore of our girlhood for my sister and me.
This summer by serendipity, I've seen two rocket slides. One was part of an exhibit at the Minnesota Children's Museum, and the other is the metal beauty pictured above that Charlie discovered while we were walking around Central Park in Roseville. In addition to the slide part, there is a ladder to climb up into the nose of the rocket in order to get way up high. Charlie climbed the ladder and I would countdown to "blast off" before he would come shooting down the slide. Someday soon, I may go back there by myself and slide down that slide just for the satisfaction.
I fear these days that the feelings of my grandmother towards danger and children have achieved cultural ascendancy. It was a great sadness of my childhood that it was so "bubble wrapped." The desire I have as a parent to give my children what I didn't have seems to be in conflict with current parenting norms. It's a bummer.
Yet, we still manage to have adventures.
It's been a common event this summer to stumble upon exciting new things in the places we frequent. Last week, at one of our favorite neighborhood parks, they had set up a climbing wall. Charlie wandered over curious, and, with a nod of approval from me, a kindly instructor harnessed him up to give it a try.
He was terrified. He asked to get down after his first steps, but he tried it. And he will grow and such things will become less scary and more fun.
Also last week, at the Minnesota Zoo, I got a little turned around and ended up walking in an area we don't usually go. It turns out, they have camel rides! Pretty soon, the boys were saddled up and whirling around the ring. I only regretted that I had to stand on the sidelines with Isaac sleeping in his stroller instead of getting on myself (next time).
One of the things I am most grateful about is that I can now have all the adventures I want and take my kids along for the ride. What I learned from my childhood is that there are more regrets for the risks you don't take and the experiences that you don't have than for any of the things that you try that go slightly awry.