These past several days have been really fun. We went to St. Louis for a much needed get-away over the weekend...but the fun was so much more than just getting away from home. Following the suggestions of many, many friends, we took our crew to City Museum. I'd heard people talk about this place, and I'd seen pictures, but nothing prepared me for what this place is! I'd expected to find things to climb up in, through and on. I did not expect to find that the entire place is filled with trails, holes, bridges, tunnels, caves, buildings, and passageways - and everything connects. Following our children into all of this fun was not always an option, as many of the spaces are too small for an adult. Watching them from the outside was almost never an option indoors, as every re-bar tunnel ultimately led to a solid structure that we couldn't see into. In no time, our children had disappeared - and they didn't pop out through the exits we'd expected!
Honestly, this place would have given us panic attacks had we even considered going prior to last weekend.
As we settled in and got a feel for the place, their staff and how closely they were paying attention to stray or crying children, we decided to give our boys a little room and responsibility. I gave Zach my cell phone, showed him how to call Bryan's cell phone, gave the kids firm instructions for staying together, cooperating, never leaving a man behind, and checking in with Mom and Dad very often... and off our smiling children went. They checked in with us every 5-10 minutes and were almost never heard bickering. Eventually Bryan and I settled in and actually sat down. It was amazing. Our children are growing up. They are becoming trustworthy and responsible.
I won't even go into bravery here - but let me tell you - they are BRAVE. Climbing tunnels 6 1/2 stories high and exploring in the dark without parental supervision. They are brave rock stars!
We took them to the pool tonight. This pool is intended for the younger crowd - mostly preschool thru early elementary. There's a play structure with a few medium sized slides, a 2' deep wave pool, a zero depth pool, one tall slide, and one little pool with a maximum depth of 4'. There are lifeguards everywhere, and only one entrance and exit. It's a pretty safe place to let the kids play...and by the end of the night, Bryan and I actually sat down poolside for the first time ever at a public pool.
The kids are growing up and we're beginning to let go. I am so proud to see how easily Zach took leadership at City Museum. He was so responsible with the phone - he had to call us a few times - and safely led sobbing Luke out when he bonked his head near the end of our visit. Zach patiently went through "babyish" things for Luke's sake without complaining, and both boys' mantra became "Never leave a man behind." I'm delighted that we're still hearing that even though we've been home for 36 hours!
In what seems like a blink of an eye, the kids have matured. I am so proud of them. It is a blast watching them grow up and take on more responsibilities. I've always said that my goal is to raise competent young men and not over-sized babies. Before long, I will be able to check "uses public restrooms without Mom's supervision" off the list.
It may not seem like much, but giving Zach that responsibility - and watching him flourish in it - has been the highlight of my summer. I am so proud of my guys.