Surviving Childhood and The Stupid Things We Do

I dropped my daughter off at the movies last night.  She was with three girlfriends, had a cell phone in her pocket and had been read the riot act about stranger danger, going to the bathroom in pairs and every other rule I could think of.  This made me think about how protective, not over protective, just protective we feel we have to be just to make sure our “babies” stay safe!  It also had me reflecting back on one of those times I wasn’t so safe…..

We used to play alone in the woods at the cottage all the time.  We were safe.  The rule.  Make sure we were home by dark.  The problem.  This time, we were lost.  Not just a little bit lost, but a sweat breaking out on the back of my neck, bile starting to rise in my throat kind of lost.  Four or five of us.  Me the oldest at maybe 12?  Alone in the woods.  The worst part, my little sister was with me, my responsibility.  The sun was going down, all the trees were beginning to look the same.  Tall.  Dark.  Scary.  My parents were going to kill me.  (if we ever got out of here alive)  I was starting to feel dizzy with fear.  The little one’s tagging along with us, they had no clue our little hike had taken such a bad turn.  They had no idea that we were soon going to experience a dark like we had never seen before.  Not city dark, country dark, out by the lake dark. 

Then, what seemed like hours later, across the forest floor, from up above a ray of sunlight.  Cooler heads prevailed and I decided to lead our rag tag troop of “explorers” towards that light.  Praying that my gut was right, that going towards the open spot in the sky would lead us back to a dirt road. That the dirt road would point the way home.  

Twenty sweat soaked minutes later we emerged.  Suddenly, the dark scary woods broke open, I could see a dirt road and open sky, the woods seemed friendly again.  Fighting our way out from the brambles.  The little one’s laughing at our “adventure”.   I took a deep breath, I knew exactly where we were.  Somehow our little group of misfit friends had walked a giant circle and emerged to what would equate to a few city blocks from our cottage.  I played the “cool big sister card”.  Kept pretending I had known where we were all along.  I clearly remember hiding my trembling hands in my dirty cut-off shorts.  I also remember making a silent vow to never walk that far from the cottage again.

Looking back now, getting a little lost in the woods seems like no big deal.  My new fear is not the Big Bad Wolf that is hiding in the woods, but the one who hides in bathroom stalls at the movies, the creeps in the stores at the malls, and even the unknown dangers lurking behind the computer screens seeking out our innocent pre-teen girls…

Sigh.  It’s a wonder any of us survived childhood.


  1. I’m amazed about the dumb things I did as a kid or college student and made it unhurt. It is a scary world out there.

  2. I did some pretty stupid things as a kid. I’m right there with you, sacred to death about keeping my sweet girl safe. Glad to know its not just me. Hope you have a good weekend!! 🙂

  3. Me too! I’ve told my daughter that I’ve already done anything she thinks of doing. {She is doubtful…I’m old} It is a scary world, though. You just can’t be too careful.

  4. You totally scared me. I am now scarred from your childhood!

  5. Ugh I did some dumb things too that I would NEVER let my Elly ever dream about. Scary.

  6. I think the angels were working overtime when I was a kid, too. I remember cliff jumping, swimming out too far, skiing like a maniac…but we all survived and were stronger for it. I worry that my kids are growing up too sheltered, that I haven’t prepared them for life out on their own. Time will tell.

  7. I’m with Secret Mom Thoughts – I am horrified when I think about what I did as a college kid and recent grad. At an age when you truly SHOULD know better. Something kept me safe, and I am thankful.

    I’ve already told my kids I’ll be escorting them to the movies until they go off to college, so they won’t even be given that freedom. Hopefully we like each other enough that this won’t bother them. 🙂

  8. Lovely read sometimes i wonder how we grew up, all the things we have to worry as moms 🙂

  9. This is so well written! I could just imagine how you must have felt. But yes, it seems sometimes that the dangers we faced when we were kids are innocent compared to today’s dangers. I seriously worry for kids growing up today, the world is full of strange people for sure!

  10. It’s so true! We were so free back then and so accessible to trouble, but yet, there was little of it. Today’s kids are more confined by location but more in danger than we ever seemed to be. Crazy!

  11. I understand this from your little kid point of view and your Mama point of view. Both are scary!!!!
    We must give them all the information and the reality of life…and they can ALWAYS call 911!

  12. When I was about 10 and spent the night at my friends house with a few other girls, we would creep out of the house, walk around to the next street and climb up on top of a wooded hill. This was about 4 in the morning.

  13. It’s a different world today. I feel like I don’t let my kids do ANYTHING without me. Oh well…they’ll survive!

Speak Your Mind (Rest assured, email addresses will not be shared)