Driving Miss Daisy
Today started at 4:00am when my alarm went off... though, it didn't *actually* need to go off because I hadn't really slept all night because I was waiting for it to go off and hoping not to sleep through it.
I got up, got ready, packed up all my diet foods and my 80oz. of water and blah blah blah and then set off for Miss B's house. Miss B had to go to Tacoma for a meeting for work and I volunteered to ride with her to keep her company, then she let me borrow her super fancy and super fast Mercedes and I drove up to see McGhee in Seattle.
The weather was fantastic. The sky was crisp and clear and despite the early morning hour, Miss B and I were chatting the whole way up. It's sad, but once you have kids, your 'free time' becomes almost nothing and Miss B and I are lucky if we can squeeze in a few hours a *year* to hang out and talk... today's three hours up and back were a luxury for our friendship and once I hope I took full advantage of.
It was only until we got home that I realized we hardly spoke of El Capitan or the divorce .... *at all*.
That's kind of awesome.
I *love* Portland: it truly is a weird and wonderful place. I don't think I'd ever want to live anywhere else on the planet (except for Glasgow) - oh... and except for Seattle. Born and raised in the Emerald State, it doesn't matter how many times I drive into my old hometown, it always makes me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. I have so many great memories of walking down to Bear Creek and riding down the slow moving inches of water on our black inner tubes, or going horse-back riding.
It's crazy, but to this day I'm still very close friends with both of my childhood best friends.... it boggles my mind to recognize that the *same* girl who used to play Barbie's with me a Grandmother now (and a GORGEOUS Grandma at that.... but still- she had a kid who *has* a kid!?!?!). That's kind of nuts.
I can still close my eyes and be sitting on the green and black patterned floral carpet at her Mom's house - way at the end of the hall where the closet was. We'd open the door and crawl under the lower shelf, hiding in there from her older sisters and playing with our Barbies for hours. We'd tape tor-up pieces of paper around the end of our fingers and pretend we had super long, beautiful nail - and we'd use them to eat popcorn and drink this apple juice concoction from the Schwann's man out of baby bottles.... I'm not sure *why* it was baby bottles and popcorn... but we were seven: logic was short on demand.
I can see us racing around the block - it was .25 miles if you went all the way around once - and we'd dash around and around for hours while plastic playing cards went click-clack-click-clack-click-clack while they were clothes-pinned to slap against our spokes as our wheels went round. There wasn't a clear/slightly-sunny/almost dry day that we weren't all outside chasing each other, playing flashlight tag and riding our bikes... nowadays: there's no one outside at all.
Where have all the kids gone.....?
We used to play outside for hours - I would leave the house at 10 am, call and check-in at lunch time and then be home "by dark". My Mom never knew where I was or who I was with, sure, she had a reasonably decent idea of whose house I *might* be at - but she never knew exactly where unless I was standing in front of her. I think about it now and realize I was the same age as The Boy is now and I cannot imagine letting him have so much freedom and autonomy.
F*ck, I don't let him play out front unless I'm sitting out there watching him.
Driving past my childhood home on empty streets I thought about all the amazing childhood memories I have... and then I thought about how The Boy won't have the same memories. He's not having the same adventures walking through Mary's yard and collecting grasshoppers and tucking them into his pockets: like I did. He's not down by the creek looking for frogs and catching tadpoles. He's not climbing the neighbors tree's and getting yelled at.... then having to rake their leave to apologize for being rude.
And... why not?
Why isn't he out tearing up the streets with his Huffy bike and a sense of misplaced confidence and adventure that only a young child has.... that kind of fearless - I-can-jump-off-the-curb-without-breaking-my-foot kind of attitude (incidentally... I was wrong: I could not).
He's not out there because I won't let him. I'm too afraid of the stories you hear of children stolen from their own driveways.... getting his by cars... insert any horrific evening news story here.
I'm *afraid* to let him out of my sight - my adult knowledge of all the things in this world that can hurt him are holding him back from having those same kind of amazing childhood memories that I have.
Driving past my old house, I thought about how wrong that is.
How wrong *I*am.
But alas... this is what happens when we become adults. This is what happens when we live in a world where we are afraid to trust our neighbors, when we don't even *know* most of our neighbors... we hide in our homes, we keep our children too ourselves - robbing them of adventure and fun and friends and mischief.
Of course, we aren't just robbing our children .. we are often robbing ourselves as well. Miss B was noting in the car how *well* I'm doing... how I clearly, *really* am over the whole ordeal with El Capitan.
That I'm *happy*.
She said she wasn't sure that she would be in my shoes at this point if it had been her.
I'm not so sure... Miss B kicks a$$ and takes names... so I'm guessing she would be, but you never know.
When we're kids, we fall off our bike and we scream and cry and wail with allllll our might until our Mom comes running with a tissue and a band-aid to cover our eversotiny boo-boo. We carry on as though we lost an entire limb: only to require a kiss and a 2 inch band-aid to make it all better. Then we jump up, wipe away our tears and ride off with the same careless abandon: free of our injury.
We shake things off.
We carry on....
Then we *play* on.
We don't push our bike home in defeat.
As adults we need to learn to do this more often. We need to wallow and cry and wail and let those who love us provide love and band-aids. Then we need to get up - get BACK our bike and pedal on in freedom and joy and looking for the same adventure we were hoping to find before we fell down.
In stead, too many of us are just pushing our bikes along. Slow. Cautious. Missing adventure.
Not me..... I don't care how many times I fall off my bike.... I don't care what size I am, or how old I am.... or how much it hurt the last time I took a dive..... I'm going to get the f*ck back and pedal away as fast as I can towards the next adventure life has in store for me... with that same careless abandon and sense of excitement that I've always had.
Why should I want anything else for adult-self than childhood me had?
Why should I just *move* on.... when I could *PLAY* on......?
I'll take my brusises.... there are always more band-aids, but there aren't always more days of adventure promised to us, and I for one... am not going to waste them.
As for The Boy.... tomorrow will be mudd and frogs and dirt and adventure.... just the way it shoudl
3/7/2013 08:39:33 pm
I really feel sorry in a way for today's kids. I grew up in the Bronx in the 1960s. Last year I went to my grammar school reunion (I too keep in contact with some of my childhood friends). We talked about the freedom we had, before the world seemed to get crazy. I used to take off on my bike at 8 am on a Saturday morning. No helmet, no knee pads. My mother would give me 50 cents for a slice of pizza and italian ice and I would have to be home for dinner. I would then take off and ride all over the Bronx. My friends at the reunion commented about how I knew my way around so well when we were kids, I was the GPS. I used to cut through the Woodlawn Cemetary to get from one part of the Bronx to another, beautiful place with lots of famous gravesites. Went there last year and found out you cannot cut through anymore since 09/11. While kids today have lots of things we didn't have (smart phones, ipads, ipods, etc), I really feel they have missed out on learning independence. I am happy you were able to get together with your old friends.
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