One of my kids almost got eaten by a crocodile. How was your New Years? Better, I'm hoping.
All right, so that sounds dramatic, and it was. Apparently, my youngest daughter, her husband and some friends were swimming while on vacation and a crocodile decided that, since the bird he was chasing flew off, the humans swimming on the other side would have to do.
The experience veered from potential tragedy to a story they'll be eating dinner on for years , so all's well that ends well. Unless, of course, you're a crocodile who missed out on all his opportunities. Which, all things considered, sounds like a personal problem for him.
The fact that this was communicated to us via text message and a very eye-opening video (and yes, thanks to phones and GoPro, there is always video) on the day we should have been spending all our time in our PJs making New Year's Resolutions (Resolution No. 1 -- try not to eaten by wild animals) illustrates a transition that's happening.
I've reached the point in life where I don't get to worry about my kids anymore.
OK, let's rephrase. I will always worry about them. In fact, I've got a black belt in worrying about my kids. With oak leaf clusters. I can envision all manner of dangers, many of them so completely unlikely as to verge into bad science fiction.
So, unfortunately, to the list of random meteor strikes, zombie viruses and earthquakes that free prehistoric monsters from the deep, I have to add getting eaten by an alligator.
OK, crocodile. A difference without a distinction.
And in days gone by, I could actually do something about all those fears. Maybe not the meteors, zombies and Godzilla. But since I was both physically present and somewhat in control of circumstances, I could handle things like crocodiles, or particularly high slides or expired milk or that sketchy-looking mechanical horse at the mall. Perhaps not the crocodile. But at least I'd get eaten first.
Now the kids are grown(-ish) and my ability to impact whatever adventures they get themselves into is significantly reduced to the point where the closest I can come to most of those adventures is texts and GoPro video.
At some point in your children's lives, you stop being the director of the movie and become an advisor. Which means you may have some suggestions, but the script is written by someone else. Even if it includes antediluvian reptiles big enough to sink a jet ski.
I've moved on from the person who makes the rules (OK, proposes the rules, subject to approval by a higher authority) about what the kids can do, to the person who offers up a new set.
For instance, a new rule is I don't want to know about anything dangerous until at least 24 hours after the dangerous activity is over or quits being dangerous or, better yet, didn't happen at all and was just a crazy idea that lost its appeal.
That includes anything involving exceptionally fast-moving vehicles, firearms, great heights, horses (to ride on, not to bet on, but none of that, either) or, particularly and especially, man-eating reptiles.
Because what I don't know, or at least don't know right away, definitely isn't going to hurt me.
So things have changed. Not crazy about it, but also not crazy about the crocodile. Or, perhaps, my new role in life and the new period we're in.
All I can do is try to smile sweetly when they regal me with stories, and hope they don't want to take up skydiving. Or at least won't take the GoPro if they do. Because, while I don't want to hear about, I sure don't want to see it.
However, that's not to say we're done with worrying. Because here in the very near future, we get to turn the tables and the kids get to start worrying about me.
Which will certainly have its disadvantages for them. But won't be nearly as bad as it could be. For instance, I can assure you there will be no GoPro video. And under no circumstances will there be a crocodile.
Commentary on 01/10/2020
Print Headline: What, me worry?