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Fear. I try not to let it rule me.

I set my 21-year old son on the train today, headed back to his life in NYC after he spent time on vacation with us. I have no idea what he gets into there because what I see is what I see. He is happy in his work, in his academics, his social life and his personal projects. And we are the ones he called (just after the girlfriend) to report exciting developments with his new game-in-the-making Heads Up Hotdogs http://emmettbutler.com/headsup/. So what is there to fear in that? As I watched him disappear onto the train I marveled at the time gone since I literally held him in my arms and walked him around the house, my shiny first baby, a miracle in my life, now telling stories of having his foot caught in subway doors in a dark and grimy underground, miles from here.

My other boy wants to play in the rushing waters and rocks at St. Peter’s village today, with friends. Smart friends, like himself he tells me, ones who will be careful in this notoriously dangerous place lined with boulders and slippery outcroppings. I want to say no, it is too dangerous for you, my risk-taking, bull-in-a-china-shop boy. But my husband and I recall the world I grew up in, filled with physical dangers on an estate of thousands of unsupervised acres with lakes and streams, and even wild animals, for Pete’s sake. What opportunity to get into trouble my brothers, not to mention my sisters and I, had there. So I told my boy my fears and said it was okay, and asked him to come home in one piece because I love him. And anyway, in five weeks I wave goodbye for a year while he goes to South America without us. Letting go must start early. For him it was when he walked at eight months, and now, I am almost all the way there.

Maybe because she still cannot drive and we know where she is most of the time, my fears for my girl today are slim. She got hit in the head with a softball last year and sat out many games with a concussion. Yesterday I smiled to myself at how this season she likes wearing a face and mouth guard.

Yeah, I am afraid. But the thing I am most afraid of, is stifling my kids as they lead their lives, just because I know it is dangerous.