Letter From The Editor – Release, Unleash & Ride the Waves
I grew up surrounded by water. My childhood in the Ottawa Valley consisted of swimming across rivers and ripping leeches off my legs after catching frogs in ponds. Back in the day, I was a risk-taker, cliff jumping and all. Though much time has passed, and that fearless swimmer had disappeared — or so I thought. It turns out I gave birth to someone just like that, and her name is Tess. She’s a six-year-old childhood cancer survivor and as mighty as they come.
Now that she’s getting older, Tess explores new ways to discover by doing things like climbing the backyard trees and jumping off her top bunk. However, parenthood through a wildfire, childhood cancer battle and a global pandemic has left me with full-blown helicopter propellers. Though, I didn’t realize how much I’ve hovered until I recently found myself at the world’s largest wave pool at the West Edmonton Mall for our summer vacation.
Now picture this, I’m in a pool of raging waters with my husband, Ryan, and our three children.
A horn goes off, and the terrifyingly siren-like sound reminds me of the alarm from The Purge television series. So, there I am, standing with my two youngest children, Tess and Dawson. I look up to see waves of water and bodies coming towards us.
I grab my kids, screaming, “Put your back towards it. Hold your breath.” The past five years of life-altering experiences had rattled me, but I didn’t realize how bad I’ve become at being overly protective until Tessa yelled back, “I WANT DADDY!”
Time stopped. I looked at her with guilt. It was the first time she demanded from me like that. Looking back, I can laugh at myself. Yes, I may have been a tad overly dramatic. My husband told me I was making a scene. But I couldn’t help it.
On the upside, Tess fighting back helped me catch my breath in the moment. It allowed me to calm down, and I ended up staying in the pool with her. Thankfully, our road trip continued with a lot more swimming in pools, hot springs and lakes. I realize that I still have a long way to go on both land and water.
Maybe other YMM parents share a similar sense of worry or uncertainty. Yet after a year and a half stuck safely inside, for the most part, I get that my children (and yours) need to unleash as they should so they can learn how to test their boundaries. Life will continue to challenge us. In the future, we will have more battles to conquer. But I think we can try to keep our children safe as necessary, not as safe as possible.
And when life sends another wave our way, I will try not to be so terrified of its unpredictable outcomes and ride it out.
Dawn Booth, Editor-in-Chief of YMM Parent Magazine