About ten years ago, when Ryan was about nine and Shannon was four, my mom came for a visit. I lived in an apartment complex with my kids that was surrounded by a five foot brick wall. One afternoon, while I was at work, my mom was taking my kids out for a walk. To exit the complex, it was either walk a half a mile–or hop over the five foot brick wall. After much coaxing, my tiny, seventy-something year old mom, with Ryan’s help, chose the wall. To this day, my children still talk about ” the day Nana hopped the wall.”
If I took anything away from that story, it was to just go for it. While I wouldn’t call my mom a great adventurist, I would say she knows how to make a lasting impression. What I have decided, partially based on my mom’s example, is to “be game.” Roller coaster? I’m game. Try to climb a mountain? Hesitantly, I’m game. Make a fool out of myself? Definitely, I’m game.
As with many parents, it is easy for me to get wrapped up in the day to day adult activities: work, bills, house cleaning, etc. What I have tried to be cognizant of is how I spend my time with my kids. For instance, I may have a mountain of laundry to do, but if Ryan asks me to play “Scrabble”, I set the laundry aside. If Daniel needs to read a book for school and I am working on dishes, the dishes soak and we go read. It seems like a simple concept, but some times it is more difficult to put into action than may be stated.
So, when asked if I would volunteer at Daniel’s school carnival, my response was “Sure, I’m game.” Thankfully, Kayla, my step-daughter, decided to volunteer with me. The morning of the carnival, we were running late. We parked along side the school’s grassy area, adjacent to the bouncy-houses and games. To reach our final destination, we could either walk all the way around the school to the entrance, or we could climb over a chain-link fence–with everyone watching. I was put in the position of “WWND?”–“What Would Nana Do?” Kayla wanted to walk around; I opted for the fence, much to her chagrin. Much to my surprise (and relief), I breezed over the top of that chain-link fence like a gymnast. Kayla, however, was not as fortunate, she lost her shoe (twice) in her attempt to jump the fence.
Once we made it to the festivities, we were given our game assignments. Kayla worked the frisbee throw; I was relegated to the “Hoppity Hop” race. The “Hoppity Hop” race, where two riders complete to see who can reach the finish line first on the large, inflated balls with handles, was not a very popular attraction. When Daniel, my son, finally made it to the carnival, my time as a “carny” was almost up. When Kayla finished her frisbee duty, she found her way over to the “Hoppity Hop” race.
“I’ll race you,” she said to me with a sly grin on her face. Now, granted, I am no “spring chicken” (as my own mother often reminds me) and I haven’t been on a “Hoppity Hop” or “Space Hop”, since I was last drove a Big Wheel. However, I was feeling nostalgic for the big, red, rubber bouncy ball with the handle that I used to own, and, certainly not one to be embarrassed by putting myself in an awkward position, I said,
I may have lost the race, but as far as I’m concerned, I won something even better than the race. I know my kids will remember “the day Mom rode the “Hoppity Hop” at the carnival.”