Before I begin, let me assure you no toddler was harmed in any way. This isn’t one of those kinds of stories.
In the way-too-early morning (aka before noon) we packed up Lucas, our 3.5-year-old son, got me coffee and all headed off to a skateboarding park. It was rented out for us, all to our own. You may now be catching faint whiffs of an oncoming bad idea. Bingo.
Yes indeed, the first ramp I encountered had me on my boney, task-chair ass faster than a tap dancer on ice in an earthquake.
Then the whirring sound of an overturned board’s wheels spinning frantically at the air.
I was already laughing before my mind even began the search and rescue activities of hauling the pile of my body off the floor. I turned my hot-pink-helmeted head and saw my lad looking at me in worried wonder. It struck me, all six crumpled feet of me, as I looked up, how rare this vantage point had become these days: my standing son looking down on me; me looking up at him.
I turned up the volume on my laughter and smiled bigger as added reassurance that the sounds I was making weren’t reckless sobbing. “Daddy?” he began.
“Dat was a bad idea.”
My laughter instantly went from mildly aerobic to extremely acrobatic. His eyes widened with an “uh oh, he’s lost it” look and his lips were drawn back in a wary Ermagerd! grimace.
I reassembled myself into a standing position and tried to kick my board back upright but instead sent it skidding a few feet away in a clatter. What would become my signature move. Beginners luck doesn’t really apply much to being cool, it turns out.
Lucas was looking at me slightly sideways for a while after that. I kept half expecting him to tilt his head like a dog that has encountered something so dumb even it needs to attempt to shake some understanding from the vending machine of its brain.
We skated on together.
He became totally absorbed. Driven. I didn’t get a lot of pics of him with a thrilled and bubbling face, but his almost flinty eyes told the story of a deep intensity as he hunched his shoulders for better aerodynamics and flapped his skinny leg in determined, propelling kicks. Not just living in the moment, but wrestling it like a croc.
“Wet’s go!” he would order, his hell-bent motivation knocking the usual “Daddy” off the end.
And we skated on together.
So. I tried another ramp and, as sure as math, turned myself three-quarters between upside down and inside out.
Now, getting used to seeing his dad pinwheeling through the air, he looked at me with eyebrows raised by knowing amusement.
“Dat was a anudder
I agreed with him once my wind-knocked lungs could pull in air again and then deflate with more laughter. I think he may have snort-chuckled. But it may have just been my own gasping sounds mixed into moment. I got up and flexed all joints to make sure my body would still allow it.
And we skated on and on together. And I kept having bad ideas. And we kept laughing and skating on.
After we finally convinced the little perpetual skating machine that our time was up and that daddies don’t walk so well ever again after about eight or so really bad ideas, we piled in the car and headed home.
My son was quiet. Still. Already lost in the nostalgia of a memory we had just made. I watched him in the rearview mirror, still making my memory with him.
It was the best bad idea.
–Andy & Lucas
This post is brought to you by The New Santa Fe from Hyundai, makers of rad cars and providers of epic memories.