It’s one of those places we always wish we could see before we get there, but know we can only ever guess. The best guesses are based on taking what happened in the past and then projecting those activities forward in a logical manner. And, even then, past performance is no guarantee of future results.
The worst guesses about the future involve pulling something out of your somewhere the sun don’t shine area.
I bring this up because we, as parents, are tormented by the future. We understand that whatever decision we make today, right now, is going to have possibly significant repercussions in the future.
That is, if we force our young dude to take piano lessons, will that make him hate music for the rest of his life? If we make our young dudette take an art class, will that cause her to doubt her own creativity for the rest of her life?
Admittedly, those are some rather lightweight consequences, but I’m trying to keep it light here and not get into depth about cutting off, say, an adult son who is content to do nothing, go nowhere and regards college and work as things that happen to other people.
Just, you know, for instance.
Young dudes and dudettes act without thought for the consequences all the time. It’s one of the more obvious definitions of being a teenager: the thought that you’re both invincible and invulnerable.
A lot of times non-parents can simply do something because they want to do it and have no thought of the future. They can do this because, to them, the future is somewhere out there. It’s not a real thing. The future is, to them, something that might happen, but . . . eh, no biggie.
To healthy, financially stable young adults, the future isn’t really real.
As parents, we know the future is as real as the diaper we just changed or the screaming fit we just endured because we took away the television and forced a young dude to go outside and play.
We see the future every night when he or she goes to bed, think about the future and worry if it’s okay while asleep, and smile at it when it wakes up in the morning all grouchy and grumpy but still the cutest thing in the world.
Parents know that the future is not stable, that it can change. This is evidenced by the way our little dudes and dudettes continually grow and become almost completely different people over the years.
The future is as real as the look on your little dude’s face.
So we parents know the future is real, but here’s the thing, the reason why I’d love to have Madame Leota (the floating head in the Haunted Mansion’s crystal ball in Walt Disney World) on retainer: We’re terrified that we’re going to screw the pooch regarding our kids’ future.
Mostly because we — all of us parents — have absolutely no idea what we’re doing.
Full-body hangovers suck. Especially when you didn’t even drink the night before.
I have a full-body hangover of such immense proportions that I beg for the sweet, sweet release of death that will never come, that will always be denied me by an angry and vengeful god.*
And it’s all because I love my little dudes and want them to be happy.
Today, you see, is the last day of Hyper Lad’s spring break. Hyper Lad, unlike his two brothers, loves to get out and do things in the great outdoors. Not just motor sports, but actual activities like, say, for instance, snowboarding.
Yes, snowboarding. It’s like skiing, but for the younger folks. Well, maybe not necessarily for the young, but at least for those with bones that do not break in a strong wind. Those who can hit the ground and bounce, rather than those who hit the ground with a dead-cat bounce.
Snowboarding can look like one of the most amazing, elegant bouts of movement when performed by a professional or someone who has practiced or knows what she is doing. Spinning down a half pipe, blowing up the sides and flipping into the air in perfect control of every motion. . . That is the image of the person on a snowboard that springs to mind when dudes think about someone strapping on the single board and hitting the slopes.
I, as should probably be exceedingly obvious by now, am not that person.
I am the person who comes around the corner and into full view of
the waiting folks in the line for the ski lift, looking good, smoothly shifts from goofy foot to the correct foot and then comes in for a nice cutting stop. . .
and catches the front edge of my snowboard on some slushy slush at the bottom of the slopes and flies in for a massive face plant onto some very hard-packed snow. I ended up with snow inside my goggles and a bruise that runs all up my entire right side of my upper body.
It wasn’t the crash that has me limping, though. That’s just the result of all the snowboarding. It uses very different muscles than does skiing. I’ve skied since injuring my knee and been absolutely fine. I am not fine after snowboarding. Not fine at all.
I groan like a zombie going up stairs, limping the entire way. Going down stairs is even worse. I’m limping and grimacing just walking and almost fell when I tried to get out of bed this morning, and would have landed on my sore, bruised right side if I hadn’t tangled myself in the sheets thrashing in a nightmare of falling.
Hyper Lad, of course, is bouncing around like he’s just been dosed with adrenaline and fitted with rubber in his joints. He’s a happy camper and, being the kind and polite little dude he is, keeps slapping me on the bad shoulder and offering to jump on my back if I want to give him a piggy back ride.
The thing of it is, I almost knew that I would end up like this, but I went ahead and did it anyway. Mostly because Hyper Lad wanted to learn to snowboard and I wanted him to have fun.
There are some who think those are the actions of a stupid dude. I do not know if I can refute that** and keep a straight face.
But that’s okay. I’m having to keep everything else on my body straight so the pain doesn’t incapacitate me.
Yep, it’s the things we do for love. . . that will kill us in the end.
Footnotes & Eratta
* There is a slight possibility that I am engaging in hyperbole for effect and humor. Slight possibility.
** I can, but mostly because I am a contrary son of an individual.