Escape the smoke

After the topsy turvey summer we’ve had, neither of us could face a crazy holiday weekend of travel, even for horse training. So I skipped a farm visit, and today my little family of three (minus His Royal Fuzzy Whiteness Wilson) mosied over them that hills to the beach.

This lazy day of wandering was exactly what we all needed, quiet time together and an escape from the awful heat and wildfire smoke filling the Willamette valley again today.

We hit Lincoln City, which was reliably packed, enjoyed a nice lunch at McMenamin’s, and found perfect high winds and few people (although still enough kids for Kade to play with) at Bob Straub State Park in Pacific City.

Tom had a blast flying his high tech kites in the wind, busting a steady 15-23mph, and being that special kind of puzzled only engineers get when he couldn’t figure out why I kept crashing the kite. (Hint: you work the kite lines the exact opposite way from reins, which I’ve spent the better part of my life learning and teaching!)

The large pack of kids digging energetically in the sand taught Kade how to find shrimp; we took turns burying each other in the sand; hit pause for a snuggle break to warm up my zero body fat kid; wrote a little of the stress into my journal; and relaxed, watching Kade play, Tom fly kites, on a beautiful sunny windy smoke free beach. I managed (barely) not to cry, out of gratefulness that we live where we can safely steal a day like this, peaceful and together and happy, far from the stresses and strains and sadness of the world for awhile.

Learning lessons

Sunday was a normal day for us, as in I bashed heads with my dad, got a new car (Possible codename: Emerald Queen), & nearly lost my child in Target (trying to find accessories for said new car). Wait, did I just admit that in public? Lost my child? For five minutes in a busy box store, I didn’t know where my child was. Pause a bit before you call CPS on me; a few good things came out of this, past the near heart attack & tears.

  
This incident more clearly defines my personal parenting struggle between two types. I could be a helicopter which people seem to expect these days, which goes against my basically lazy inner Cali girl. More & more I lean on my own hazy memories of slipping the bounds of my supervision when I was Kade’s age & wandering the Arizona desert with only a probably confused, definitely long suffering dog named Major for company.
As Tom & I stood a few feet away & watched Kade search the aisles for us, we waited for him to turn his head two inches & spy us, I was in a way testing him. Could he figure it out, how to seek us? How much tether to give him, considering the huge, wild ride of kindergarten poised to jump us at the end of this summer?

  
Kade didn’t see us (or there would have been no tale to tell), instead he headed off uncertainly down a different aisle. I shook my head as I headed out to collect him, but the panic only set in when he wasn’t there. No matter what the statistics say, I watch too much Criminal Minds. I understand the potentials in this situation, but there’s still the struggle. How much do I protect, from everything, & how much can I start teaching him now to fend for himself, to engage the brain resting in that pretty blonde head? What is appropriate for this child at this age, compared to his desert wandering mother, farm wandering with two older bothers’ father, or Tom with two older sisters in a sleepy farm town?
In that five frantic minutes with the worst trotting through my mind’s eye, & I can say this now with pride since the panic has (mostly) passed, Kade proved he does listen to me, & remember. I have two main rules for when we go out-don’t leave a place unless you’re holding the hand of whoever you went in with, & if you can’t find us, find an employee or cop & tell them you’re lost. It was the second one he put into use on Sunday. He found a women with a red Target shirt on, clearly an employee & not a random Joe Schmoe, & informed her he couldn’t find his Mommy.
Thankfully the tale ends there, as Tom overheard her calling a code yellow & found him that way, & then here came Mommy to scoop him up with no panic evident on her face.
So there’s the good news out of all this; he can handle himself fairly well in such a situation. But I’m going to teach him how to do a proper search, or just stay in place, for god’s sake child!
   

Choices…

Tomorrow night I have a quite rare child & boyfriend free night, as the boyfriend is running the kid down to meet his dad for his weekend with the blondie. So, after work, I’m free to be a seize the night owl, & I’m a little torn as to what to do. So far I’ve come up with four things, each valid in their own ways.
I could fight traffic out to Eagle Creek & work my current rescue horse, a sweet little 3 year old Arabian, Cha Cha, & spend some quiet time in the barn & seeing what she can pick up on, practice my groundwork with her. Minus the traffic part, I think this is my main choice.

  
I could also sneak out to Ikea, which is fairly close to work, & wander around dreaming of ways to make our small apartment feel bigger, a concern for us with Kade bigger & more rambunctious every day & no yard to kick him out to. Ikea is a huge draw for me, with its shout that just get this one shelf & all your organizational needs will be at peace. I also spend too much time on Pintrest occasionally, because I’ve put just enough ideas from there into practice to keep going back! It’s a joke of course, I’m a pack rat with cycles (collect a ton of stuff, get rid of a ton of stuff every spring) living with two boys for whom the notion of laundry in baskets & toys on shelves is sketchy at best. But a girl can dream…& buy that one shelf….

  
Another option with the moon so riotously full this week is a night hike, say up Powell Butte or along the Columbia River, somewhere close in & bright with that moon we don’t get to hang out with often during our rain soaked Oregon winters.

Or I could be much more boring & head home, maybe hole up with some soup & finally get my current novel plugged into YWriter & wrangle it into making sense, bouncing between Netflix (I just finished the Office for the umpteenth time, maybe time to get reacquainted with Dean & Sam or Dinozzo & Gibbs) & actually writing & plotting. Such a night, so many possibilities!