Being Free Range Is Exhausting, Y’all!

So here’s the crew we took to Joshua Tree National Park, minus me and my exBIL who were standing back taking pictures.

Jump for Joshua Tree National Park!

Once we got out to do some hikes…


…things got crazy. Running, jumping, leaping, and climbing crazy! In every direction!



To keep everything as in control as is safely needed, there are a few rules: Everyone has a buddy, so no one is running off alone. Everyone needs to make sure an adult knows what place they’re going to climb. Each group of kids has to have someone 12 years or older to supervise. Everyone needs to know how to do the ‘crab walk’ to get back down from steep cliffs. And most importantly, everyone needs to have fun.

Once the ground rules are covered, we set them loose in nature. It’s hard to resist a playground like this:


It’s all well and good until you look up to see your babies (teenagers/preteens…whatever…when I see them in places like this they’re all my little tiny babies again..) perched on something like this:


or this:

or making their way up to the top of here:

I get a little panicky. They’re hard at work climbing the biggest rocks they’ve ever seen, and I’m hard at work not verbalizing my inner fears of all the ways there could be of death and destruction when you mix big high rocks and small (OK, maybe they’re not so small anymore…) children. It’s exhausting for all involved.

Watching them running around like feral kids, I just kept repeating…Mark Twain would have loved this! Benjamin Franklin would have loved this! Daniel Boone would have loved this!

We’re out of the National Park now, but I’m still recovering from the mental strain of hoping my kids didn’t free fall off some rock and maim themselves in the process.

Free Range is fun, but exhausting!


5 Responses

  1. Oh that looks like such fun!!!!! My kids would LOVE that!! ;D It IS scary when you look at it, but you are so right to let them do it, it’s so UNLIKELY they will fall…..!! 😀

  2. What a fantastic day! I think there must be some inverse relationship between how fun something is for a kid and how terrifying it is for the mom :-). I can’t help but envision the screaming and the E.R. bill whenever my kiddo decides to try something like this but then I realize that the pride he feels after the accomplishment is priceless.

  3. Mental strain definitely. Looks like fun though!

  4. Yes, amazing for the kids and terrifying for the parents! Well done 🙂
    My littlest is a fearless climber – I’m not ready *eek*

  5. I can relate exactly how you feel.

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