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Maybe I’m worried that he won’t worry

My 2-year old son climbed Mount Everest Thursday morning.

Although the pile of boxes in the back of Mom’s closet do not look anything like Nepal and do not rise anywhere near 29,000 feet above sea level, I am sure Gibson was on a mountain-climbing high after his recent exploration.

It wasn’t until my wife reached into the closet that she saw his eyes peering from above the clothes rack.

Summoned to take a look, I couldn’t help but laugh as I saw the mischievous look and Cheshire cat smile on Gibson’s face appear from the dark corner of the closet. All he had left to do was plant a flag and name the pile of boxes Mount Gibson.

I scratched my head to figure out how he wormed around the rack of clothes and scaled up the boxes to hide just below the top shelf. I didn’t know if I should congratulate such creativity and ingenuity or worry about his recklessness.

I did know one thing. I might as well face reality — my son is a daredevil.

The first signs showed up long ago when he showed little worry about wandering away from Dad’s watchful eye, but in the past couple of weeks Gibson has pushed his fearless tendencies to a whole new level.

Now he spends most of his days seeing how high he can climb, how far he can jump and how much he can get away with at home. Most of his antics are relatively harmless. We child-proofed our house a long time ago.

Occasionally though there are those moments when things get suddenly quiet, and Gibson disappears from view. My wife and I eye have learned to recognize those instances quickly and not be surprised by what could be lurking around the corner.

If you were a kid in the 1980s and 1990s, you probably read the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes.

I devoured the strip about an adventurous 6-year-old and his stuffed tiger who created armies of headless snowmen and turned cardboard boxes into flying time machines.

Maybe it is because my child has the same unruly blond hair and the same impulsiveness of the comic strip’s character, but there are moments when I think I am watching a little Calvin grow up before my eyes.

I was never like Calvin as a kid. Yes, I was a little impulsive and daydreamed a lot, but I was not fearless. I was shy and my capacity for worry in many ways outweighed any sense of adventure.

Could it be that all children are born daredevils and eventually lose their fearlessness with the inevitable bumps and bruises?

Or are some children born to be fearless and others anxious?

With his mother in the dark one night, Gibson showed great reluctance to leave her arms when we heard a mysterious sound rustling in the trees.

It wasn’t until mom shined a flashlight to reveal an armadillo rooting in a pile of leaves, that he eased up. A little fear emerged after all.

Maybe Gibson may not be a daredevil? Who knows?

It may be natural for parents to worry about their children, but I don’t know which is worse — wondering if my son will grow up anxious like his dad or wondering if I will one day have to follow that little daredevil up the real Mount Everest.

Ben Hillyer is the design editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3540 or ben.hillyer@natchezdemocrat.com.