Friday, May 22, 2009

Not In My Wildest Dreams

Your children are not your children. / They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.

Kahlil Gibran

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.


  1. OK, I know your post is really about letting our kids find their own way in life, but I can not get over the snake in the ligths kissing your ear thing. I have a very serious snake phobia and if that had happened to me I would have died on the spot - no time to switch to English or anything else. Seriously, I'm going to have nightmares tonight! (I can add this one to my recurring snake nightmare). *shudders*

  2. We had a rat snake in our back yard the other day, and a copperhead in the front yard the next day. And they both probably have mothers and siblings nearby. I live in fear of working in my yard or letting my grandsons out to play.

    We killed the copperhead, cut off it's head, saved body and head for the 6 and 3 yr old grandsons to look at as an educational experience. They were in 7th heaven. We were gods for saving it for them. They poked and oohed and ahhhed, wanting to know if they could look for more. It has to be a guy thing.

  3. Pam, I'm so sorry. Just don't dream tonight! Maybe you should write about that nightmare - I hear horror is in.

  4. Eewww! You saved them? You are braver then me. I don't like them dead or alive. And it must be a guy thing, although I did see the lead actress on Weeds pose for a photo with a big anaconda or something around her neck. Ewwww! What is the reason for snakes! We should move to Ireland or Hawaii. No snakes.

  5. I went to pick up my kids after having dropped them off for a little while with family members. When I got back a boyfriend was there telling the story of how he had a live copperhead in the back of his trunk. My son was yelling, "I want to see it, let me see it!" I have to rethink this whole babysitting thing.

  6. Hang in there mom...easy for me to say with only a 10 & 4 year old! Thanks for popping by today.. I look forward to getting to know you! : )

  7. Sounds like he is off to an adventure of a lifetime...
    I never knew there was a such thing as snake boots. Crazy!!!!!!!!! I have to admit I would love to be out there doing all that.

  8. Being the mother of two sissy girls, that's one thing I'll never have to worry about. I raise my glass to you, my friend. Cheers!

  9. Snake boots? My dad wears those! Only in Texas, I tell ya!

    Thank you for commenting, and wishing me well in figuring out all the html to get my blog back.

    I'm up and running again. WOO HOO! Come on by to check it out, and let me know what you think.


  10. Good stuff here. It didn't take many lines of reading before I thought, "OK, I'm in". I will be back again. Good luck with your self re-defining. If it doesn't result in a job, send them one of your blogs. They are always better than a resume!


  11. I love Kahlil Gibran's quote. So poignant and true.

    Snake boots, huh? Well, if I were a younger person, like Jordan's age, I think I'd be all over that wildlife stuff. Sounds like great fun to me now, at least -- snakes or not. :)

    You've done a great job, Jules. With all your boys. Hugs.

  12. Scary, yes, but holy wonderful wow! He is so going to be feeding his spirit with this job. Now, as long as he doesn't feed he snakes!

  13. Glad he got a job he wants. Will pray for him to be surrounded with a shield of snake repellant. (No wonder satan took the form of a slitherng creature in Eden.) *eww*

  14. It sure sounds like you raised a great kid. So glad he's happy about where he's going. He's sure to have some great stories to share. Cheers!

  15. Julie, I realize how I miss those days.....when the kids were small and we were in our glory of early friendship that has seemed to last the years and the great divide. I think that my kids lives are filled with a different sort of rattlesnake. Give the boys a hug from me!!!!!!!

  16. You are the loveliest mother, from raising to worrying. I grew up in rattlesnake country--and look at me, alive and kicking way too much, here at age 42. He'll be fine, right? Focus on bottle feeding the white tailed deer...

    Easier said than done, of course, so I can get behind your needing to drink heavily and continuously this summer.

    But what a cool kid he sounds like.

  17. It is hard to not put our fears and limits on our kids, isn't it? You're a good mom.

  18. He is off on an adventure, fershur! :) Looking back, I would have loved to go into wildlife mgmt, BUT the snake part, esp the venomous ones, probably would have presented some problems for me.

    I wish him the best of luck on his new adventure, and just give me a jingle when you're ready to hit the alcohol. :-D

  19. Hmm, that sounds like an interesting career!

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