Uphill Again

For various reasons, including but not limited to

a)  Boy being restless
b)  Boy’s friends ditching him
c)  Me being bored out of my skull
d)  Dys needing us both the hell out of her space for a few

I ended up taking Boy to the park yesterday afternoon.

As one might expect on the first warm weekend after a long winter, the park was packed.  Ridiculously so.  Boy got up on the enormous playground equipment but had a hard time just walking from point A to point B because there were so many other kids in front of him, crossing the other way, going in the opposite direction, all of the above.  So after a few minutes of that, he decided to ditch that area for the smaller one with a rock-climbing wall.  Even that was comparably crowded, so after many minutes of him hanging, waiting for other kids to either move or get down already! (and me watching a 12 or 13 year old girl ignore her dad’s “It’s time to GO.  NOW.” for so long that I was ready to drag her off the equipment and hand her to her dad myself) he gave up on that one as well.

After briefly contemplating going back to the bigger playground, he decided he’d rather go to the top of the park.  So we drove around to see if the gates were open to cars – they weren’t, of course.  But he was receptive to my suggestion that we drive around to the other side of the park and take our old route straight up the hill through the woods.  So that’s what we did.

It was readily apparent to me that Boy is bigger and tougher than before, because last time he was apt to complain about how tired soon after he’d decided on a grand plan.  This time, not so much.  He decided where we were going and he set the pace.  We passed a twentysomething couple who’d ridden their mountain bikes down the path to a slightly clear spot for a secluded picnic, we passed two young black guys playing one-on-one on the basketball court where we’d played last year.  He first determined that we should go to the south overlook and look for our house.  So we peered around, and I helped him orient himself by pointing out a couple of landmarks.  I asked if he wanted to go ahead back, but no way.  He wanted to continue uphill to the north overlook as well, a half mile or so away.

So we meandered along, listening to a sound getting louder and louder.  It sounded like frogs, but WAY too loud.  It got louder and louder until we passed a certain point, at which it got quieter, so I suggested we check it out on the way back.  At this point Boy gave up his previously-avowed intention of seeing how many rights and lefts we took (“I think it’s five rights and three lefts?  I don’t know, I should check”) and we just walked along, making small talk.

I pointed out that just a year ago we were walking in the same place, talking about him going to his “new” (now current) school.  He then pointed out how the school was OK even though his classmates annoy the piss out of him for talking too much in class.  He named names.  I just shrugged and did what I usually do in such situations – attempt to illustrate that he’ll just have to learn to deal with such things in life.  He shrugged, but seemed to listen, at least.  I’ll take it.

We made it to the northern overlook, looking out toward downtown and the university where I work.  At which point he saw the football stadium and immediately asked when we could go to a football game again.  I was momentarily surprised – he usually doesn’t have much patience for the game.  I think just going and eating some pizza at the stadium is the biggest attraction for him, but whatever, I’ll take it.  I told him that the spring scrimmage was going to be while we were in California for the wedding, but that I’d try to take him to a game in the fall.  He seemed a little disappointed, but still okay with it all.

On the way back, he said his new jeans were chafing his thighs.  But otherwise, he was a trooper the whole way, not complaining of being tired or his legs hurting like he occasionally has in the past.  Shuffling back down the hill, we had a couple of slips on the leaves.  At one point, he told me that I should hold his hand, “and hold on for dear life.”  I couldn’t tell if he meant me to help him, or if he meant to help me.  I kind of think the latter, although it’s silly.  Something in his voice just made me feel that way.

A couple of stray raindrops hit us when we were almost out, so at his direction, we sprinted the last hundred yards or so to the car.  Which his new track-team-member self did with much more alacrity than I did, I should add.

He’s a much different person than he was last year at this time.  I miss that little kid a bit, but I have to say, I’m much more excited to hang out with this version.  And I look forward to the next one.

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3 Responses

  1. I just wanted to say that it looks like you have raised a nice kid. I see teenagers all the time that scare me and make me wonder about who will be leading our country. Yours sounds like he will turn out just fine.

    Well, there are still those teenage years to go, and I know as well as anybody how hard it is to predict how kids will make it through that. I did very well, but a little bad luck here, a bad decision there when I was 50-50 on which way to go, and I could be on parole right now…

    But overall, I’m pretty confident. He really is a good kid at heart. Even if he is Sheldonesque at times.

  2. Seriously, you can’t post stuff like this when I’m all hormonal. I’m sitting here crying. It’s so damn sweet…

    I almost posted a warning for you and Kim, actually…

  3. My Dude is Sheldonesque too. I honestly can’t tell if I like the current Dude better than the Dude from last year or not. He’s… different. Not in a bad way, not in an overtly good way, just different.

    I can also say that my Kitty was a much better teen a year ago. I miss that. And, I do not really like who she’s become this past year.

    Lets hope our boys turn out better!

    I’ll cross our fingers.

    Boy is like Sheldon, but with empathy and without the ego. It’s workable. 😉

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