Ruth Ayres hosts a weekly celebration on her blog. I appreciate this invitation to reflect on the positives of my week.
It all started with Carol’s Summer Bucket List.
My son was playing video games, the ever-present video games, and I was catching up on some blog reading. I exclaimed out loud over Carol’s goals to see a Rockies game and go to the zoo. I was just planting seeds. I figured that if I mentioned going to a baseball game about one thousand times, my son might take me up on it sometime five years from now, time number one thousand one.
Wouldn’t that be so fun? I asked. I would love to see a Rockies game.
What are the Rockies? he asked.
You mean like Major League Baseball?
I want to do that.
Yeah, I want to do that.
We can do that.
We should do it this summer. I can’t do anything anyway because of my finger.
Absolutely we can do that this summer.
What about day after tomorrow?
Is there a Nike store in Denver?
If I go with you to Denver, will you take me to the Nike store?
I would love to take you to the Nike store.
Silence. Some intense eye contact.
Then one nod of the head.
Let’s do it.
Taking an impromptu road trip to Denver might not seem like the greatest accomplishment in the world, but two days after getting home, I am still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that we went and we had fun.
We went on an outing—a big outing, an out-of-state overnight outing that required staying at a hotel—and we had fun.
We’ve gone on outings close to home before, but we’ve never had fun. Not the first time. Usually the second time is the charm for my son. The first time he does something new, he is sick with nerves. Literally. The first time we drove to Spearfish to visit a wild life sanctuary, I had to stop three times for him to throw up. That’s what trauma does.
But he is brave and strong and determined, and so he always asks to do it again. “Because the second time we can have fun.”
We don’t try to do new things or go new places very often. We consider it a success during the summer if we can try one new thing per month. We don’t even try during the school year. It doesn’t seem fair or right to subject him to the level of stress these activities create when his ambient stress level is already so high just from daily living. That’s been an adjustment—and a sadness—for me as a mother. One of the things I most looked forward to about parenthood was traveling the world with my child. But some days, going to the grocery store is more than he can handle. Creating fun family memories on vacations, outings, day trips is out of the question.
Honestly? We weren’t really expecting him to go through with it. But I’m always unreasonably optimistic, and I gave the trip 50-50 odds, which only made my husband laugh in disbelief. And the morning of, it didn’t look good.
My son woke up and didn’t want to go.
I don’t think I feel like doing that today, he said. I’m just not feeling it. Maybe next time?
We sat and looked at each other.
It’s okay if we don’t go, I said. But I want you to know that I think you’re ready. I think we can do this. I just want to grab this Band-Aid and rip it right off.
He yelled at me and covered his face with the blanket, but about ten minutes later, he got up and got dressed and said he was ready to go.
And we went. And we had fun.
I was prepared for all kinds of crazy acting out, but there was very little of that. Mostly, it was just fun.
We kept it short and simple and totally focused on what’s interesting to my son. We drove down on Wednesday, took in the baseball game, ate dinner at our hotel because that was a familiar place, watched tv, slept, woke up, went to a sporting goods store and Foot Locker, then drove home. It’s not the kind of trip to Denver that I’m used to. My Denver is all independent bookstores and organic grocery stores and local coffee shops and art museums. But there is far more enjoyment to be found in Boy World than I ever would have imagined, and in fact, the highlight of the trip for me was probably Foot Locker. My son’s face absolutely glowed when he saw House of Hoops, an offshoot of Foot Locker that is 100% devoted to basketball gear. All of the shoes that I have spent untold hours looking at with him online were right there in the flesh. Kyries, Currys, Kobes, Jordans, Lebrons. He tried on all of them in every color.
And I got a gold star of acknowledgement from the sales guy.
“I gotta give you props,” he said. “You’re more of a sneakerhead than some of the guys who come in here. I’ve never seen a mom know so much about this stuff.”
It’s not that I love sneakers, though they do come in exciting colors now. There’s a pair of Kobes from last year, for instance, that looks like a unicorn threw up on them. As we debate Kobes vs Jordans, my son asks with no hint of humor, “Should I get the purple Jordans or the Kobe Barfs?”
But I do love my son, and right now, this is his world.
So that’s me. Book nerd and sneakerhead.
We stretched the fun out just a little more by stopping on our way home to check out an old green truck that was for sale. The dealership was closed, but the truck wasn’t locked, so we climbed into the cab for a photo and imagined how awesome it would be to trade in Hester, our staid Honda Accord, for this sparkly green 1970s Ford.