The boy and I have been spending more time together lately, as my awesome wife has been in evening rehearsals for her return to the stage. So every day after work, little man and I go on some sort of adventure. These evenings sometimes challenge my “no whining… ever…” policy, but mostly this has been a fun time.
A few days ago we stomped around in the forest looking at rock climbs. I realized just how much I miss clipping into a rope and watched him observe climbers and potential climbs with real intrigue. All of this encourages me that the days to come will offer the chance to pass on some of my interests to our little guy.
What I didn’t anticipate was the things I would teach him as we drove up out of this canyon, taking an amazing back road toward home. Of course, these days you put me on a mountain road and I only have one setting. Attack. The weight shift in a corner and the fun of a heel-toe gear-change is genuinely therapeutic any time I have the opportunity. Meanwhile, the boy is generally unfazed by my driving, more likely to ask me to turn around and look at something than comment on the ride.
Near the top of a ridgeline, we dove into a series of switchbacks. Big braking, downshifts, and full one-eighty corners helped us climb the ridge and suddenly, the boy took notice.
“That was fast, Dada.”
“That was a little bit fast, buddy. You’re right.” I answered, not entirely sure what he was thinking about this experience.
“Go fast again.”
“When I get the chance to, I will, bud!”
And. I did.
“See Dada, you’re going fast again!”
He was now fully involved in the experience.
Up we climbed into thinner air and close to the ridge-top, when we reached a section of road carved out of the mountain. On our left the road stuck to the mountain side and a steep hillside raised up out of view. On our right, his side, the road had only a small shoulder and then a steep drop toward the distant valley below.
I love this road.
“Dada,” he said, suddenly a little more serious. “This road is dangerous.”
“Why is it dangerous, bud?”
“Because it just drops off. We could fall off the side.”
“You’re right, it does drop off.” I said while navigating a corner. “But that doesn’t mean it’s dangerous, it just means we have to pay attention and be careful.”
He thought about this for a moment. Then the road split through a stand of Aspen and both sides of the view were blocked by the tight cluster of white trunks.
“Now there’s trees,” He observed. “Now it’s not dangerous.”
I don’t know that I agree with that assessment, but I loved that he was paying attention.
Blasting out of the trees here reveals one of the best views in the area, and I wanted to make sure he noticed.
“Look at the view, buddy.” I said, taking a steep right-hander that turns you toward the beauty. “Isn’t it beautiful?”
“Yeah,” he said, matter-of-fact. “Dada… can I get in the front with you, and you go fast again?”
Of course he can’t get up front. He’s still small enough to be ensconced in an ergonomic, bolstered, full body flight seat better than NASA used in the space shuttle.
But this is when it struck me full force. I’m passing this on as well.
That’s my boy.