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the complex psychology of growing up

2015 August 21
by Rachel Turiel

omg8 Representatives from the club: squash-like volunteers.

I can hardly believe it’s late August. (Why do I never feel this way about, say, February?)


I do feel a little blasphemous admitting to you that I am feeling just fine about transitioning out of the perma-freedom days of summer into a little more structure. Maybe it’s because much of summer has been an extended Take Your Child To Work experiment (Rose accompanied me all this week to Mindfulness Arts Camp where I taught writing; Col’s been on the job site with Dan, building fence).

Maybe also, I am sensing that the kids will benefit from actually getting dressed in actual clean clothes (Col), or from the experience of getting needs met with other adults (Rose) plus there’s always the wild practice of leaving the house for extended hours.


(We homeschool, and the kids attend “shared school,” a fabulous program in which the kids go to public school with other homeschoolers two days/week. Plus they each have a homeschool co-op one day/week).

I’m aware that this blog was once the chronicles of small, cute kids and their mom who felt occasionally overwhelmed, at what…toy clutter? Missed naps? Bad moods that lasted for 3 minutes? Weaning children who could do basic arithmetic? For many sweet years we were immune from the rumblings of puberty, toxic mine spills, the media and its enticements, the developing beast of self-consciousness, and the complex psychology of growing up.


If I were to give you an in-depth look at our household now, you’d see me losing sleep trying to assess the true risk in the kids’ current desires (Col: flying in single engine airplanes the size of my couch; Rose: purchasing dubious plastic, outgassing, made-in-3rd-world-sweatshop items laced with a shitstorm of chemicals).

You’d also see Col and Rose locked in a 30-minute, heated, courtroom-esque drama regarding the consequences of “accidentally destroying each others’ belongings, while their mother is deep-breathing in the corner. (New amendment to the sibling constitution: reparations must be made!) And, Dan? He’s prepping for bow hunting season, shooting his bow across my garden every chance he gets, not bothered by much.

And yes, at ages 8 and 10, Col and Rose can now go 3.3521 hours without a snack. They can be left alone in the house for short, finger-crossing stretches. I do appreciate that we can all be together, doing our own thing, harmoniously, for at least a solid 42 minutes. And yet, this growing up is complicated.
Everyday, at about 5pm, we all trickle out into the yard. We let the chickens out. I water the garden and try to get someone, anyone, excited about turnips. Dan works at blocking the skunk’s hole that leads, no doubt, to the Shangri La of burrows under our shed. The kids discover a wriggling mass of cabbage worms. Beers are opened. The hose is commandeered  for mischievous purposes. I marvel at how we are here, at ages 8 and 10all of us growing up together—and, despite the humbling blind spots of parenting, what a gift this is. I exhale gratitude. We celebrate another day.


:: Bumper crop of purslane (and some kick ass beets, too).


:: What happens when you can not plant in rows, nor pull volunteers:


(cabbage, broccoli, marigolds, squash volunteer, morning glory volunteer).

:: Another use for that old deer skull lying around: perfect rest for the BB gun.

:: I don’t even know what to say about the wildflowers this summer, except, omg and thank you.omg3

:: Col, spotting a Cessna something or other.omg2

:: My friend Tara and I found a roadkill doe driving up to a hike last weekend. I called the roadkill guru (AKA: that man I married), who instructed: “Get close and smell it. Feel under her armpits – still warm? Eyes still glassy, or clouded up? You gotta knife? Now, gut her, throw her in the Subaru, and park in the shade.” No can do, but she’ll be waiting for you at mile marker 48, honey.
omg5Rose, introducing her friend, Jordan, to the pleasures of smoked deer heart.

omg6Heart and backstrap.

:: The first step with chanterelles: inhale. (Dan, wearing archery wrist guard. See? It’s endless.)omg7

Heading off to mushroom country for the weekend, with ample butter and garlic in the cooler in case we get lucky.

With LOVE,



14 Responses leave one →
  1. August 21, 2015

    Yes, yes and yes! The growing up together, the complications, the beauty of it all. I’m right there with you.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      August 21, 2015

      It’s all a big soup, isn’t it? Just like every stage of parenting, I suppose. :)

  2. Becky permalink
    August 21, 2015

    that is the most amazing picture of the kids walking through the pasture with the wild flowers and the mountains in the back ground. seems as if your kids are growing up too quickly
    hope you found your mushrooms. Becky

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      August 21, 2015

      Rose later, when recording that trip in our camping journal, called that wildflower meadow, paradise.

  3. August 21, 2015

    The wildflowers out there really were amazing this summer–we hit it just right. And that’s Col pointing out an airplane, holding a heart-shaped rock!! Sweet sweet. I’ve lately been wondering why the HELL it takes 18 (or 25 or 32 or whatever the current number is) years to raise these creatures into adulthood, and not, like, six weeks or two years (or drop and run) like other animals. I know it’s a stage that will soon pass (like the minute the first day of high school ends and the eldest realizes it’s NOT THAT BAD and he can stop taking out all of his angst on his mom) and I’ll be back to trying to nuzzle their stinky heads and gaze wistfully at their still-soft cheeks when they don’t know I’m looking, but still…

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      August 21, 2015

      If it only took 6 weeks, we’d have way too mant babies. :)
      Congrats on high school. Wow.

  4. Molly permalink
    August 21, 2015

    I never knew that parenting could mean happiness that my daughter invested her own allowance money in the first tiara we’ve seen made of actual metal and crystals (on clearance twice over) rather than the undoubtedly lead painted plastic silver ones with pink feathers glued on that function as foot piercing devices, primarily…

    I’m impressed with your doe gutting boundaries, also.

    The garden looks fabulous.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      August 21, 2015

      The things that lead to happiness! I know. It’s all very weird.

      My daughter has currently invested all her hopes and hard-earned $$ on a used American Girl Doll auction on ebay. Even at $55, she is not going to win. Do I support her in putting more money in next time when I personally think American Girl Dolls are a huge crock of crap? Hmm, we’ll see….

  5. Jessica permalink
    August 21, 2015

    I’d be smelling that beautiful pan of chanterelles too. Yum!

  6. August 21, 2015

    those wildflowers remind me of montana. you are so lucky to live in the mountains. yes, i can pack up and move but i would miss my family too much. grow where you are planted they say. ugghh. the broncos shirt is on backward ;)

  7. Nancy permalink
    August 21, 2015

    Love reading…. And what do YOU do with turnip??? I sneak it in elk stews and roasts, and eat it raw.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      August 24, 2015

      I like turnips chopped and roasted with olive oil and salt.

  8. August 21, 2015

    And you’re reading great stuff too—I see Wonder tucked under that pan of chanterelles.

  9. nan permalink
    August 22, 2015

    I covet that tray of mushrooms.

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