Adolescent Joy

Dawne Olson

Vermillion, United States

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I can assure you that tonight there is not a picture I’ve put up that means more to me than this one. It was difficult to adjust the focus as my tears were fogging up the viewfinder. Pulling them in with the 300 mm lense…I knew it was too dark out. I knew the pictures weren’t going to be technically “good”.
Both girls had come into the house crying earlier in the evening. Trembling… bruised.. grass stained. They had made a sharp turn with the 4-wheeler and flipped it at the end of our driveway. All of our kids have been driving this four wheeler since they were about seven years old. Lately I’ve watched the girls grow more daring. More bold. Our warnings to “slow down” and “stay in the yard” began to carry less weight in the lightness of their own sense of immortality.

Aside from some minor “road rash” they are essentially unharmed.
Thank God.

It was a typical friday in Fall in many ways: Indian summer weather with a blazing orange sunset and harvest moon. Our family of six, spread out now as the kids grow older. My oldest boy working at the grocery store in town. My other son playing at a football game in a town an hour away. My husband bringing the hay in from the alfalfa field as the sun touches the horizon. And me with my camera watching my girls and our two dogs race up and down the driveway in youthful exhuberance.

Every night when I lay my head down on my pillow at night… I know I wont’ sleep until the last one has walked in the door. I worry about them driving. I worry about them getting injured in sports. I worry about their grades. I worry about their wrecklessness. I worry that they don’t sleep enough, eat enough, study enough. What mother doesn’t. Right?

I’ve seen a lot of kids carried off the football field. Every game I pray that it won’t be mine. My husband works with the Sheriff’s Department on weekends in a college town. Lots of drinking and partying. Lots of stories about kids in car wrecks. I pray every time they turn the key to go somewhere. And all my life I’ve grown up hearing stories of farm accidents. We all grew up around the tractors and 4-wheelers and dirt bikes. My kids are no different. As I watched the girls skipping up the driveway tonight, I knew that one prayer in particular had been answered today:
God, please keep them safe.
I know this is long. But if you have kids, (or really just anyone you love!)…………… I hope this will remind you to pull them closer.

Artwork Comments

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