“I know what I’m doing!”

“Hey guys, I really think the big pieces need to go to the dump instead of on the fire,” I yelled across the yard.

I knew what he was doing too, and that’s what had me worried.

Gaining cooperation from adult children…this was easier before they hit their twenties.

My son was building a bonfire in the back yard as something to gather around on our last evening together before the youngest left for college.  He’s 23, successful in his career field and independent.  He is convinced he has it under control.

I would have preferred to play a game together.  Anyone for Monopoly?

It had been a beautiful summer day and subsequently there was a breeze that picked up a little now and again.  It would be dark within 45 minutes and in my gut the idea of a big fire seemed unnecessarily risky.  So how about a smaller fire…right?  I can compromise.

But he wanted to burn the old desk instead of taking it to the dump.

“Mom, you worry too much,” he said as I walked into the house for a minute…wholeheartedly believing my guidance would be heeded.

“Look, we have the hose and we’re keeping an eye on it.  Stop worrying and just have fun,” my dear one encouraged as I stood next to him a short time later, obviously disillusioned regarding my influence.

“I can’t,” I spoke with conviction, “I have experience which has developed my intuition…and my gut tells me we needed a smaller fire.”

By this time my temper was burning a little, too.  If their father was here they would have heard his words and weighed them differently.  I also have to admit, when I feel the need to put my foot down I can sound a little…what’s a nice way to put this…cranky. 

I get annoyed with myself because with all of the communication skills at my disposal I come up short when challenged by the strong wills of my adult children.

I gave the fire a little time, observing its burning pattern as the breeze intensified occasionally and again subsided.  The large heavy board he had laid atop the stack was what concerned me most because the fire would shoot out from under it.  If the wind caught it just right the water hose might not really be a match for it’s force.  Why risk it?

I quietly assumed charge of hose duty and began to subdue the fire, eventually lowering the flames to where we could get the board tipped up to spray underneath.  It took a good while for the whole thing to go out…long after dark.

When finally I no longer felt significant heat rising from the pile of ash and unburned wood, after everyone else had gone on their way, I felt safe to go inside.  The heat in the relationship had dissipated too along the way and all was well.

No one puts these struggles in the brochure when they are selling you the romance of having cute little babies. 

Image of Fire Texture VII by Melyssah 6-stock

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