Our Wi-Fi has been sporadic at best since we returned to the US side of the Virgin Islands. I realized I had a bunch of photos that I never posted from the end of January from our last few days on St. John. We stayed in Caneel Bay for two or three nights while going back and forth to Cruz Bay. The boys were able to kayak to the beach to look for shellsand I saw three squid while snorkeling. It took me a few minutes to even realize what they
were. After that, we spent a few days in Leinster Bay. It was an amazing spot – surrounded by islands or parts of islands and protected enough that the boys could kayak or swim to the small beach on a little island. Matt spotted an octopus hidden under a rock and we all got a chance to see it. There were also great hiking trails. We walked ½ mile to dump
3 bags of garbage and then hiked the challenging Jonny Brown Trail to see more ruins and followed the trail over the island to Coral Bay, a small fishing village that is fighting against the potential development of a huge mega-yacht marina (I’m siding with the fishing village).
People sometimes ask how the boys are handling the trip. I think, for the most part, they’re having a great time. Given the amount of time they spend with each other, they get along remarkably well and patch up their rare arguments
quickly. There are, of course, the usual developmental issues. For example, Joshua (our 7-year-old) is subconsciously (or consciously) experimenting with power. He occasionally teases Malachi (our 9-year-old) unmercifully and can be physically rough with him. Years ago when Joshua was very young, Matt talked to Malachi about the Biblical practice of ‘turning the other cheek.’ Malachi immediately took the lesson to heart such that I don’t think he has ever been physically rough with Joshua, earning himself the nickname The Gentle Giant from Matt. It also meant that Joshua doesn’t really know what it is to be on the receiving end. After a particularly trying day, Malachi pulls me aside with tears in his eyes and says, “Mom, sometimes I get so frustrated and angry with Joshua that I just want to hit him!” Images of The Buddha, Christ, Mother Theresa and John Lennon quickly flash across my mind. The Parenting Principles Pamphlet would probably suggest coaching around conflict
management or praising the child for holding his temper. After briefly considering both of these ideas I lean down to give Malachi a hug, look him in the eye and whisper, “Maybe you should.” He looks at me with an expression that is equally shocked, appalled and concerned and asks, “Really?” When I don’t respond, he repeats the question. “Well,” I reply, “maybe he needs to know what it feels like in order to behave better.” He thinks about this for a minute and then says, “Mom, I can’t. It’s not the right thing to do.” I kiss him on the top of his
head, realizing he is already a far better person than I am. It’s not that I never turn the other cheek but rather that I do so on a more conditional basis (e.g., when I’m feeling up to it; when the other person isn’t really bugging me; when I’ve had enough chocolate for my brain to be full of serotonin, etc.). It’s comforting to know my children have already surpassed me and that I can just kick back and watch them grow up. Kinda takes the pressure off.