Your children are not your children. / They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
When our children are born, we conjure hopes for their futures. Some might imagine doctor, lawyer, teacher, or Peace Corps volunteer. I hoped that by exposing my three boys to different environments, ideas, and arts, they could discover their own passions. I did plan to raise independent, honest, responsible, kind, generous, contributing members of society. I’m certain they are headed in that direction, but now I’m rethinking. Perhaps I should have been more specific—like get a desk job. Especially that middle son of mine.
As can be expected when the job front comes into play, the almighty resume moves to the forefront of the computer screen. My desktop carries my own, my husband’s, and my two oldest sons. My husband hasn’t needed his yet. You know the status of mine. The oldest son is graduated, employed, and now in his own place. But that middle one has been seeking an internship. With one year left in his college career in Arizona, Jordan was praying to fore go a seventh summer of life guarding and land something in his field of Wildlife Management. He found it.
This summer he’ll live in the middle of Bumf--- south Texas where he’ll bottle feed baby white tail deer – and kill rattlesnakes. Is he excited? On top of the world. As for me? Did I walk the floors, mend his hurts and heart, teach him to cook, garden, mow his neighbor’s lawn AND hold his head when he threw up so he could put his life in peril in rattle snake country?
Where’s the corkscrew?
I’m not sure when my aversion to those disgusting creatures began. I caught garter snakes with my oldest brother growing up in Minnesota. We dared each other to touch them. Maybe it was in college when, as a biology major, a South American climbing snake decided to slither along the lights in our lab and hang down right beside my head, surprising my ear with his forked tongue. I switched to English the next day.
Years later, my friend, Rebekah, born and bred in East Texas, and I would hike with our kids to find mudslides and swimming holes in the Texas river beds. Once while walking through a creek, I carried that new rattlesnake hunter as he was so small. I asked that friend leading the trail if we needed to watch for snakes in the water. She said no, that the current was swift enough. As I went under a tree branch, she said, “Watch out for them hanging in the trees, though.”
EEEWWW! Why was she my friend? One trip we altered our route due to a lounging cottonmouth on a rock up ahead and once after hiking two miles into the woods, startled one who swam into the pool of water we’d planned on splashing in for hours. We sat, sweat pouring from our brows. We were not going in there.
With a grounded fear in slithering beings and nightmares to prove it, I’m sending my son off to keep them from the Bambi’s he will nurture.
Jordan has informed me his hiking boots won’t suffice, that he needs snake boots. He researched them at the local sporting goods store. I asked how high they rise on his leg. He pointed to mid-calf.
“Don’t they have any taller?” I asked. “Like up to your neck?”
Jordan, in his kind honesty, only smiled.
I will shut my mouth, send him on his way, rejoice in his happiness, and set one more resume in our pile aside for a while. And I wonder why I drink.