At age 37, Sheridan has decided to take up skateboarding. He’s not a “do crazy tricks at the skate park” kind of guy; his goal is to get good enough to take the board on the train next spring and then finish his commute to Kohelet Yeshiva (the high school where he teaches) on his own wheels. My oldest son has applied the same, laser-focused singleness of purpose that he brought to baseball as a young child, and later, of course, to his beloved music. He’s out there almost daily after work, cruising through the neighborhood, remarkably steady and well-balanced. Soon, he graduated from a long board to a short board (yeah, I know, I don’t understand either). In the evenings after dinner, he’s been known to regale Aiden and Peter with YouTube videos of other skateboarders and their feats of daring. The boys are all agog, and I’m sure that means they too will be clamoring for boards in the not-too-distant future.
You might think a man in his late 30s would look a bit silly, but not Sher! He takes the whole enterprise quite seriously, and therefore everyone watching him does too.
Meanwhile, Aiden now is on rollerblades. When Baba is practicing on his skateboard, Mr. Aiden is usually out there too, rolling down the driveway and gliding easily to a stop. He has inherited his dad’s poise and looks perfectly at ease, even when tackling some decent-size hills. When I can bring myself to watch, I notice that, while Sheridan is totally aware of Aiden at any given moment, he is not hovering at all; instead, Sher concentrates on mastering his own sport. Their time together is companionable and low-stress, dad and son sportsmen having a blast.
Quite a difference from his fretful, hand-wringing mom, who couldn’t take her eyes off her children for a millisecond when they were in any perceived danger--say, digging a small hole in the sand at the beach. “Not too deep!” I would caution, “It might collapse on you!” That usually drained all the fun from their endeavor, and that really wasn’t my intention. But I ended up passing along my anxiety anyway, like a big, wet blanket.
Ya-Jhu has similar parenting instincts to her husband’s, and as a result the boys adore climbing trees and monkey bars, without being yelled at to “be careful for Heaven’s sake!!” (when I would do that, my offspring would inevitably fall down.) I don’t want to miss out on my grandsons’ every hike and bike adventure, so I’m trying to bite my tongue and let them be.
Winter will bring a break for my skateboard and rollerblade boys. But they’ll no doubt be sledding, and probably even skiing at some point. The parade of dangerous pastimes knows no season! But maybe I can make a real effort to change my ways. Perhaps, by Spring, I will debut the All-New, Laid-Back Elise!
Spring of 2040 is the goal. I didn’t specify NEXT Spring, did I?