(Originally penned in October of 2014, and re-posted on Sept 2, 2021.)
I’m participating for the very first time this week in “5 Minute Friday” with katemotaung.com. I will confess that I am totally out of my comfort zone, with the timer set for five minutes and five minutes only, during which to write a blog post.
I’m contemplating cheating/not really You know, Gentle Reader, how I go on . . . and on . . . but punching holes in that durn comfort zone is a good thing, right?
So here we go . . .
This week’s prompt is “Dare.”
Little Mack is 8, and I am . . . not 8. Nor 28. Not even 38. Nope. I’m not gonna tell you how old I am, but the thing is–I’m old enough to pause and reflect when he asks me to hop onto his little plastic tractor with him and ride “as fast as the wind, Mom,” down our block-long concrete driveway.
I’m old enough to think twice. To imagine the mess of limbs, scraped knees, bruised elbows, and possible concussions, should we turn the tractor over and skid across the cement. I’ve seen how fast he goes when he and his cousin Luke travel on that little job. But they are so young. And mendable. And soft, and bouncy. And I’m . . . not.
“C’mon, Mom,” he coaxes. He wheedles. He tilts his head and grins up at me. “It’s fun. And anyway . . .
” . . . I dare ya.”
I take a deep breath. I wonder when I first started to overthink these kinds of decisions. When did I get so protective of my elbows and my knees, I wonder. Since I hurt my ankle two years ago, making it practically impossible to run any longer? When I did something to my knee (I don’t even know what–!) that makes it so difficult to walk up the stairs without pain?
When did I decide that I needed to protect myself a bit more? When did I decide that maybe I was too old to “ride as fast as the wind” down the driveway with my little boy?
I make a decision. Mack and I trudge up the driveway, and he is happy. I smile at him warily as he beams up at me. “You’re gonna love it, Mom,” he says. “We can go so much faster, with the both of us. So much more weight involved . . . ”
I narrow my eyes at him, and he shrugs and gives me a goofy grin, his little endearing gap between his two front teeth. “Well . . . . ?” he says. “I only weigh 53 pounds, Mom.”
So we are settled on the tractor, me on the seat, and he shows me how to steer it. I take a deep breath, and he starts to push . . . faster and faster and then he jumps on the back and we ride, careening, wobbling, skidding.
Fast as the wind. Sure enough. He wasn’t kidding.
And I wonder, as we whoop and holler and scream all the way down our block-long driveway . . . I wonder why I spend so much of my time pulling weeds and toiling over laundry and reading things that don’t really matter, and not more time doing this.
We finally come to a stop and we are breathless, both of us, with laughter and joy.
“Let’s do it again,” I say, and my son grins.