Hellions

My mom’s birthday is coming up and I feel sorry for her. Still. She had 8 kids and we were – by almost any standard – horrible children. We had my Dad’s fundamental and very Cajun reservations about anything official. Rules, for example. And my Mom’s unshakeable determination to succeed at whatever she set out to do. Utterly dangerous combination.

Basically meant we questioned everything and took whatever road seemed most advantageous with daredevil dedication. We ran along railroad tracks next to trains, climbed on top of houses, hitchhiked, dismantled everything we could get our hands on. Loved in whatever direction our hearts dictated. Wildly pursued our own ideas. Experimenters. Testers. Questioners.

I would watch my mom laying down the law “don’t you dare leave the back yard” and see the faces of my siblings. Calm. Calculating. Making a plan of escape while she spoke. Climb the fig tree. Crawl across the roof. Down the side she couldn’t see. Or under the house. Winding around the plumbing and wiring and piers. Disconnecting a few things along the way. We were called: Demons. Hellions. Heathens. By our relatives.

We grew up. Went on testing. Figuring things out. Calculating. Taking things apart. And putting them back together so they WORKED. Building stuff. Making stuff. Renovating stuff. Teaching stuff. Wandering the world as if it was just another neighborhood. We still refuse to be confined.

When we are told that anything is dangerous, unlikely to succeed, out of reach, we just get more curious. The next generation is shaping up to follow in our footsteps. Hiking the Appalachian trails, running marathons, questioning the status quo, starting their own businesses. Same calculating faces.

My Mom tried to keep us safe and on the right track but we ignored what she said even as we copied what she did. Worked like crazy. Never whined. Attacked any obstacle. We can outwork anyone. Early training.

When my own son started his business he says to me: “this way no one will ever again be able to dictate whether or not I work”. He’s a lot like his Gran. That’s a good thing.

My Mom loves us. She fought for us. We are so lucky we still have her.

If you’re raising hellions, my Mom will tell you some of those kids turn out pretty well.