Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Wild Child and the Social Butterfly

No crafting here - just some "Mom" ponderings about being terrified and helpless when your child is in another country facing machine guns, as well as being proud of the blossoming taking place!

I used to call my youngest the "Wild Child".  She was a little maniac when she was little - dirt just jumped onto her, and I worried about her climbing the street sign on the corner before the school bus arrived.  She was always, however, pretty shy around anyone but us - not very outgoing, and pretty much afraid of every living being.  Even 3-day old puppies.

My oldest was always Ms. Social Butterfly.  This child could play on the same swingset as everyone else, and end up being the only one with clean clothes.  She always had to be with friends, at a friend's, or have friends over.  Always ready for a gathering, and always wanted to bring friends with no matter where we were going. This girl got the outgoing personality trait.

We always wonder what our children will "grow up to be" when they are little.  I remember cringing when the Wild Child would answer me when I asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"  "I want to be a daycayo pwovido just like you!".  [I was a daycare provider for several years, and really encouraged her to choose a different career.]  The Social Butterfly changed careers a few times over the years - teacher, veterinarian, nurse, doctor, lawyer, teacher, forensic scientist, researcher, nurse again. 

They have blossomed into beautiful, intelligent, thoughtful, strong young women.  The Wild Child is now the English Major, and the Social Butterfly is now my Uptown Girl and has decided, after 6 years, to go back to school to be a . . . Legal Assistant.  I'm very, very happy to see her so determined to do something.  I think she has been waiting to figure out just the right thing for her, and now she finally has a goal.

The Wild Child/English Major is currently in the Dominican Republic on a 5 week student volunteer trip.  [She started a blog before she left, not knowing if she would be able to share her experiences as they happened.  She barely has had connection at all, so maybe she'll transfer her journal at a later time when she's home again.]  She left on Mother's Day, and spent the first week going to a school for Spanish immersion - language, cooking, and dancing.  She lived with a local family there, so she got a good look at the daily culture.  She then spent two weeks at a ranch in a remote area, living in barracks and walking to a nearby village to teach English, Math and Health subjects to children mostly aged 8-12.  They also worked on construction of an annex to the tiny school.  She witnessed some very, very poor conditions. It seemed a little intimidating to think my baby was taking anti-malaria pills and sleeping under a mosquito net.  Then I thought tarantulas were intimidating, until she got stung by a jellyfish!  

After the 2 weeks of volunteer work, the students have been enjoying some adventure travel. I thought they wouldn't need to worry about 'critters' or danger anymore.  Ha ha! The thought of spelunking (dropping down a hole into a cave system, and then swimming through areas when necessary!) drives me crazy.  Then they went white water rafting.  (Not something you'd catch me doing in a million years!)  On one of her calls, she told us she was OK after the little rafting accident.  Little?  Accident?  They crashed into a raft that was stuck on a rock, she got flipped out and ended up underneath the raft.  Yes, out of sight for a bit, much to everyone's panic.  I tried to react during this conversation without falling off my chair so she wouldn't start crying.  Yikes!  That was a close one, and could've ended much differently.

During the same phone conversation, she proceeded to tell me about the 6-hour bus trip across the country to their next destination.  And how they were stopped by military police.  And how they were surrounded by machine guns.  And that they almost had to get out and unload everything for inspection, but were finally let go after conversation between their leaders and the police.  OK, that made my heart beat quite noticeably!  (Remember, this is my child that was afraid of everything!)

I'm anxious for our conversation tonite.  They went kayaking and exploring more caves today in a national park.  I hope kayaks are fairly tame.  I am just so darned proud of this young woman.  She has been horseback riding through the countryside to experience rappelling down beautiful waterfalls, as well as learning about another culture and teaching about her own.  She's never been away from home this long.  Maybe she really is a Wild Child.

I never dreamed that my girls would be where they are right this minute.  But I always wondered what it would be like to see them grow and blossom and mature.  I couldn't be prouder of who they have become, and who they have yet to become!


  1. God bless your children and keep them safe.
    It sounds like you have given them the love and support they need to be their own independent selves.
    Certainly a wonderful achievement!

  2. Great post!

    Ah, kids! They'll surprise you every time!
    Fox : ))

  3. And bless you, for encouraging them to reach out and explore and experience. Words don't teach, life experience does.

  4. Bless you for sharing this marvelous, marvelous post. You have done a tremendous job raising them (so far) and helping them grow into independant, inspiring young women. Brava!


Thanks for your thoughts - I read and appreciate every one!