It’s been a while dear blog reader, and life has certainly been busy. The addition of a new miniature human to our familial brood has helped evaporate most every spare moment of late, but that hasn’t stopped me from taking pictures, merely from writing about them.
A few weeks ago, we were lucky enough to be invited to a family friend’s home on Heron Island. Where is that you say? Exactly. I’ve lived in the Northwestern US for most of my life now, and I’d never ever heard of Heron Island. After a bit of google based research, I realized why. Heron Island is a private, residential island in the south Puget Sound. Accessible only by private ferry, or a particularly ambitious swimmer, you need to be invited to visit, and we were lucky enough to be summoned for a sojourn.
With dirt roads and absolutely no commercial presence on the island, it is truly an escape from the daily grind. With seemingly more deer than people on the island, we found ourselves exploring the island on foot, via golf cart or by way of a kayak needing to dodge the hordes of foraging four leggers who were obviously not in any way bothered by their human counterparts.
Being a huge fan of water, having been raised on the ocean, I felt at home being surrounded by tidal shifts and the smell of the salty air. Getting to see my two year old experience this explorative freedom, and wild interaction was what I’d always hoped to find parenting to be. The unbridled excitement coupled with the exhausting reality of constantly running around provided us with a great sleeper. For those without kids, this is a pretty big deal.
In a world where we seemingly need to bubble wrap our children based on legal necessity, it is nice to allow a child to run free, to scrape themselves up, to explore with only a watchful eye as protection. I feel this haphazard approach to interacting with the world around us more closely resembles my past reality and one that I fear my children will not get to experience, at least in the same way. Being able to allow sunlight to dictate your curfew and neighbors providing the child’s equivalent to a public bathroom when needed while out playing in years past, my kids are growing up in a time different than when I learned that hopping fences could provide a shortcut home, enabling a few precious extra moments to play before needing to be back for dinner. This type of self directed responsibility and creative envelope pushing creates a wonderful experience from which to draw a comparison while growing and moving through life. I will strive to give my kids as much of this as I possibly can all while helping teach me to let go, to allow them to experience the world from outside my grasp, knowing they will be capable, just as I was, to make decisions for themselves.
I learned quickly to understand my physical limitations and be aware of my surroundings out of necessity and being fortunate enough to learn through mistakes. Mistakes that would be looked upon as neglectful parental oversight I think nowadays. Oh well, the more experiences I can give my kids that allow them to freely explore the world around them is a goal I now seek to employ as often as possible.
While on Heron Island, we were able to relax our responsibilities not only for our kids, but for ourselves as well. That was a wonderful escape from so much necessary daily need that didn’t fully dawn on me until I took the time to go through the pictures and saw that freedom on our faces and sense of wonder in our demeanor.
Life is a constant balancing act, and so much more so with kids. Learning to live within a reasonable framework of moderation and logical sensibility all while letting go and getting to experience the feeling of your stomach dropping out or the rush of life through your hair is an act that I hope to master. So, goodbye and thank you Heron Island, you were a wonderful reminder of a different time which has helped bring me back to what it should be like to be a kid.
Here’s to finding more of that freedom within our daily confines both for ourselves and those who we have chosen to guide through life.
All my best,