After Lilly’s fall I knew I would need to be intentional about not acting on my desire to protect the girls from…well….everything. I know we can’t bubble wrap our children. I like to think I have a fairly level head when it comes to allowing my children to experience the world while still keeping them safe. So when I saw that Trinity had climbed to the top of a tree, on small branches that didn’t seem big enough to hold her and below were blacktop, an electric utilities box, and a sidewalk, I tried to stifle the panic as I said “Wow! What a great climber! Okay, it’s time to come down now!”
There were a plethora of ideas that went through my head on her downward climb. Do I tell her not to climb the tree? What if she fell and hit her head on any of the very hard surfaces below? But I can’t tell her not to climb trees. What’s the point of childhood if you can’t experience the thrill of challenging yourself and conquering your fears on things like tree-climbing? Last year she wouldn’t go higher than the lowest branches so I knew this was a point of excitement and accomplishment that she had pushed herself to go higher. In the end I settled on the following: She could climb the tree as long as she wore her bike helmet. If she fell and broke a limb, I could live with that, (Not that I want that to happen!) but at least she won’t crack her head open. We also had a chat about staying on one of the three larger branches and avoiding the small ones that won’t bear weight well.
I’m sure there are many parenting decisions I will mess up along the way but I think (hope!) I got this one right. That afternoon, Trin wrote a poem about her tree climbing in her journal. She gave me permission to share it here:
When you climb a tree it feels scary
like a spider crawling up your back
and it also is so exciting
like it’s your birthday.
It is so fun when you can show everybody
how high you are.