Part IX: Free-Range Parenting and the Color of Indignation

Y’all, I apologize. It’s been forever since I started this series; specifically, I began writing about last summer’s road trip last summer, and here I am finishing it up this summer. That was certainly not my intent, but my workload during the last year-and-a-half was intense, so I’m just beginning to get back on my feet again. At any rate, here is the first of the two last installments of Girl Meets West.

(If you are new to this tale, you may want to start here: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, and Part VIII.)

IMG_0883The next day we said goodbye to our mountain cabin and drove to Santa Fe, New Mexico.

We had reserved two nights at Bishop’s Lodge, located just outside the city. What we didn’t know was that the better part of the lodge was closed for renovations. (In fact, the entire lodge is now closed with plans to reopen next year.) On the upside, there were only a handful of guests, so we had the run of the place.

IMG_0892The rooms were spacious,

IMG_0895with fireplaces both inside the room

IMG_0898and outside on the private patios. Picturing the lodge in its glory days took little imagination.

IMG_0962The grounds, while unkempt in spots due to the impending renovations, were beautiful,

IMG_0923filled with adobe buildings,

IMG_0924IMG_0930IMG_0934IMG_0946and views to spare.

IMG_0952IMG_0955IMG_0958This steeple was visible between the trees from several places on the resort, its stark white a dramatic contrast against the multi-colored desert skies.

The kids took full advantage of the grounds, and spent hours exploring the Southwestern terrain and the creek that ran just below our patio and throughout the property.

IMG_0910IMG_0967IMG_0973LCB and I spent the afternoon working out on the patio, our thoughts broken only by the occasional bursts of conversation as the kids traveled through the creek below us. It was full-on free range parenting.

And let me just tell you, those children were nothing short of filthy when they returned at dinnertime, dragging sticks and various findings behind them. We ended up pitching several pairs of socks that refused, despite heavy doses of detergent, to lose their newly acquired deep brown hue.

The kids opted to spend most of their second day exploring as well. We did manage to pry them from the dirt late that afternoon with the promise of food, and headed into town for dinner and shopping.

IMG_0983IMG_0987IMG_0988We walked the streets for an hour or so, and then ate dinner on the second story balcony of a restaurant overlooking the city.

IMG_1009IMG_1016We stopped in Albuquerque the next day on our way back to Phoenix. Baby-Girl decided to fork over three of her dollars to buy a mood ring as a token of her trip. You know, because few things are more reminiscent of the character of Albuquerque than a three dollar mood ring just like the ones at Claire’s Boutique. She put it on in the store and walked with us through several more streets, uncharacteristically quiet. Then, she stopped, stomped one foot, and said, “This mood ring totally doesn’t work.”

Naturally, we never saw this coming, but I refrained from commentary and asked why she thought it didn’t work.

“I just made myself fake cry and it still says I’m happy,” she replied, sounding ticked.

My first instinct was to ask her to check to see if there was a color for indignation, but I sensed that this was not what the girl needed from her mother at this juncture.

Dusk found us back in Phoenix again, where we’d started almost two weeks earlier,

and the next morning found us at the airport, purchasing smoothies before we boarded the plane that would take us eastward and homeward.

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No More Princesses on the Beach

One day recently, the kids and I went out to the beach in the early part of the afternoon, and the kids immediately ran out into the ocean. When they came in later, one at a time, I offered each of them a towel. All three promptly and soundly rejected my offer. You would have thought I had proposed rounds of extensive, unnecessary, experimental dental surgery the way they grimaced and backed away at even the suggestion of the towel.

IMG_0407You see, I had offered them the princess towel, a throwback from Baby-Girl’s preschool days.

But I guess when you’re a boy about to enter middle school or a boy just trying to see your way clear to the other side of middle school, you can’t drape your ocean-drenched self with a princess towel, even one turned inside out (my suggested accommodation), and even with no one you know other than blood-kin in sight.

Not gonna talk about it and not gonna happen.

And then there’s Baby-Girl, who came in last and who gave me the death look when I suggested it to her. I get the sense that a rising fourth grade girl almost can’t imagine a more embarrassing scenario than being seen with a princess towel, even if and especially if the towel is technically hers.

100_1231100_1498My, how things have changed.

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Happy Independence Day!

IMG_5539Happy Independence Day!

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