- I moved from the suburbs of Michigan to a small town in Argentina in 2009.
- At that time my children were 8, 6 and 4 years old.
- Drugs were everywhere as my children grew up, but now I know how beneficial it was for them.
In 2009, I moved from the suburbs of conservative Ada, Michigan, to a rustic cabin in the Andes outside of what is Argentina’s most hippie Patagonian town, El Bolsón.
The first day, my kids, ages 4, 6 and 8 at the time, went to explore the cypress forest while organizing our place.
My 6-year-old daughter, Stella, ran home excited, carrying with her a huge handful of fully flowering branches of what looked like a rather monstrous marijuana plant. Panic visions of having accidentally crossed paths at a drug cartel farm hidden in the mountains crossed my mind. But he told me they were a welcome gift for me from our neighbor and, “Don’t they smell wonderful, Mom? And look how they shine.”
No parenting book had prepared me for this moment.
This happened more than a decade before legal recreational marijuana became a thing in Michigan. The right football moms I came from didn’t have a big bouquet of spectacular herbs displayed in a vase on the dining room table.
Fast forward to a birthday party disguised as a different neighbor where I met a couple of my kids ’elementary school teachers who were casually delighted with the acid, and I think the reality was full of where I was growing up. my sons. .
My kids had access to everything, and not in a bad way
What I didn’t understand then was the gift that would be this discreet attitude toward substances for parenting.
My daughter Stella, now 20, explained how everything was so accessible.
“The weed had just been grown in the garden next to the carrots, and if I ever decided to try mushrooms, I knew I just had to ask one of the local doctors who grew them,” he said. “That accessibility meant there was no rush to try anything, because I knew I would always be there.”
When he was a teenager in the United States, we stole vodka from the liquor cabinet at home and beat him up with friends on a Friday night, secretly filling up what we drank with water.
Here, my kids could walk into the grocery store at 10 and leave with a bottle of wine. But culturally, the wine here is accompanied by roast or homemade pasta.
My kids grew up drinking a small amount of high quality malbec with dinner, and now associate alcohol with what it can bring to a meal, not with getting drunk at a fraternity party.
I knew where they were, always
In a city this size, my kids looked at them everywhere. Every waiter, every bus and taxi driver, and everyone on the street knew them and would tell me what they were doing and with whom; we were a supportive people raising children together.
That’s why sneaking in was useless: my teens had no choice but to be frank. Stella came to me when I was 16 and was curious about “magic” mushrooms. He informed me how he chose their dose and from whom he took them, told me where he would take them and promised me that he would keep the phone charged and on in case he wanted you to pick it up.
It’s not exactly like in the early 2000s, driving in minivans in the suburbs, I was thinking about raising my teenagers, but looking back, I’m grateful to have been able to raise my children in the liberal culture of the small Argentine town.
I will always prefer this level of honesty and conscientious exploration to uninformed teens who feel they need to sneak in.