My boyfriend and I sat on a bench in a small park area right in front of the Towers in Narragansett. There were a few families surrounding us and the fountain that stood majestically in the center of the circular arrangement of benches. On the ground at our feet were bricks and cement engraved with names. Names of loved ones, families, establishments and even memorials. My boyfriend and I sat in silence for the majority of our time there, reading and observing each name below us. The fountain was crowned by a statue of two or three dolphins, posed with water spewing out of their fins, trickling down the rest of the fountain. At its base, there were three girls making bets on how far or high they could toss their pennies in. Such an innocent little act, I thought. It was truly a pleasure watching these girls play and interact and get enjoyment out of the simplest thing. If only we all took as much pleasure and appreciation into small things in life, the way those girls did throwing change.
There were two older girls of the three, I would guess one of them was 12 and the other maybe 9 or 10. Then there was a little one, probably no more than 6 years old. Their parents sat on a bench in the distance, far enough to be secluded but close enough to keep eyes and reigns on their children. The girls frolicked around the fountain, sitting on the bottom ledge, standing, and walking around it. But, the parents could not seem to let their children be. It was “stop standing, stop running, don’t sit on the wet part, don’t lean in, just sit down”. Probably every three minutes they’d figure something new to bitch at their kids about. It’s important that I add, this fountain was NO deeper than ten inches… MAYBE a foot. The little one, amongst excitedly shouting “daddy!” and showing off to her friends, was particularly picked on. But of course! She’s younger and more delicate and less educated, right?! The parents could just not shut up. Everything this girl did, they had a problem with. Now, I see why we all want to be very cautious when it comes to protecting your children. Who knows, I could even be this type of control-freak parent someday, but I sure as hell hope not. I am aware that I cannot justify their words or actions because I am not them and have no business making judgements. I’m in no position to judge the parenting preferences of others, as I wouldn’t want it done to me if I were a parent. But, what I had a problem with was less of their parenting methods, and more of their general life outlook.
As a self-proclaimed artist and lover of life and all things beautiful, my mind couldn’t help but have a problem with what I was seeing and hearing. This poor little girl is just trying to live. She is trying to thrive off of the land and her surroundings, she is trying to explore and see new things and learn new things and maybe even scrape a knee or two while she’s at it. If she falls of the edge, she’ll get a band-aid and a reprimanding. If she leans in too far, she’ll get a splash of water and a little taste of reality. Hey, she might even LEARN something for herself. Self taught lessons are so important. Kids are so much smarter than we give them credit for. If she fell in, she’d probably giggle, and think “I probably shouldn’t have done that” and then she’ll be upset that her clothes are all wet. And when she grows up and sees a fountain, she’ll know to not lean too far in cause she’ll remember the time she fell in.
What I saw really had me thinking much deeper than the surface.
I don’t think we are living a fulfilled life when we’re tapping our knees and biting our nails and being so worrisome with possibilities that we have no idea would even happen, all due to fear and insecurities within us.
My man and I went home that afternoon and made sandwiches with my mom in the kitchen. I don’t remember how the conversation started, but my mom and I began telling the story of how I got the scar under my nose on my upper lip. I fell down the stairs when I was about 8 years old, it was the 3rd of July. We had just gotten my dog and he was a little puppy. I was carrying him down our concrete stairs when I tripped over his leash, tumbling head over heels, slamming each cement step with my little 8-year-old face. My mom was probably 10 feet away, around the corner of the house filling up a small kiddie pool we had just bought at Benny’s for the puppy and I to splash in. She rushed, of course, when she heard me scream and fall.
Her and I can both agree that it was the scariest accident or injury I’ve ever had, even topping the night a few friends and I flipped over an ATV and landed in an ambulance.
I would have still fallen down those stairs whether or not my mom was right there.
We are all going to make mistakes no matter how censored we try to make our life. If bad things are going to happen, they are going to happen. They won’t wait for our word or listen to our excuses. They might find a way around it.
In a more metaphorical way of wording this, what I’m trying to say is that using hand sanitizer every 12 minutes still might not protect you from getting the flu.
So in the meantime, why not live life to the fullest while we’re here and healthy?
I wouldn’t say my parents suffocated me and I also wouldn’t say that they didn’t suffocate me. They found a decent balance in between warning me of what could go wrong and allowing me the freedom to figure out those mistakes and learn from them myself. It means a whole lot more saying “yeah, I didn’t listen to what mom said about ATVs and I got on one anyways and it turns out I learned they’re really fucking dangerous” than it does to say “yeah, mom says ATVs are dangerous, so don’t go on them.”
I’d like to clarify, before I get those hypersensitives offended and all up in my comments, that I’m not saying we should live on the edge like a fucking mad man. I’m not saying parents should pay no attention to their kids when they could get into something mischievous or dangerous. But I do think there is a lack in freedom or self exploration among the generations that are being born and raised right now. These kids will live in a box or a fucking bubble their whole life and never learn the real world for themselves.
And this does not just go for parents and their kids. This goes for ALL OF LIFE. All of us.
Get your hair done. Talk to the person. Buy the shoes. Take the weekend getaway.
BE SPONTANEOUS. BE UNPREDICTABLE.
Don’t make excuses. They will always be there. Your opportunities will not.
We are making ourselves prisoners if we cannot be allowed, or if we cannot give, the freedom to make mistakes, the freedom to explore, the freedom to feel and be alive. The ability to get hurt, to cry, to regret and to sorrow.
In retrospect when I was reflecting on my day, I couldn’t help but notice a theme.
Limitations will always exist for as long as you create them.
Limitations will cease to exist for as long as you conquer them.