Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

24 July 2010

this blog is an airtight alibi

As your lawyer, I advise you to take a hit from the brown paper bag and get on your bike.

It occurs to me, in telling tales of camping with kids, that some things need clarification. To wit: the motivation or lack thereof in children making hard efforts. I think about this because my brother, whom y'all do not know (and who does not follow this blog), considers himself a "part-time Dad" on account of his daughter (who also does not follow this blog) lives with her mother, apart from him; to the tune of another state apart. I play the role of Uncle in this scenario. And let's face it- I play it well, if a little creepily. My brother is, understandably, reluctant to play the bad cop when his time with her in person is so limited. This gives him some kind of grief in that she needs a disciplinarian around on occasion.
Don't we all?

This is not complaining:
In the course of riding out to the last camping trip, my niece lagged like you'd expect of a kid who is coming off the couch for a hot and somewhat hilly 3mile tour. Then she lagged like you'd expect from a kid who knows they can play the role of broke-down asthmatic and get away with it. I waited several times with J (5 1/2 and on a 12" wheel) along the route. then I pushed on to the trail head and waited there. And waited. And waited.
Finally, after the arrival of one kid (one had gone on to camp ahead of all of us) I left the loaded bike and walked back down the road to see if help was in order. Around the 2nd corner, maybe 1/8th of a mile back, there they were- sitting in the hot sunny roadbed. Now being the Uncle, I told my niece to get up and get moving, out of the sun and towards the trailhead blah blah blah. My brother said they'd just stopped to rest right then, which-if accurate- is neither here nor there and it definitely is not moving towards shade or camp. So, under duress, we moved the 1/8th of a mile to the trail head. I there remounted the bike and insisted we continue immediately down (down, mind) to camp. Which we did, even though J led them too far down the trail and they had to turn back and walk their bikes up from the bridge...

In my alternate, yet simultaneous, role as full time Papa I have the luxury of playing the bad cop all day long- secure in the knowledge that they have enough exposure to me as a loving and supportive parent as well. If nothing else, that is a true blessing in this time. So I recognize that. As a loving and supportive parent (who is still me, for what that's worth) I tell y'all here and now that I have literally kicked my son in the ass repeatedly to get him up and moving on that very hot and hilly road; albeit much further up and in much hotter heat. There was a trip we took, me and the boys, that was a crusher...

A crusher.

Occasioning the literal ass kicking, D had lain down in the road several times and finally simply refused to get up. What do you do at that point? I suppose you could park your bike to shelter him and rig a little tarp so he could get comfortable in the cool shade while you made some lemonade and reasoned with him about the logistics of getting to a suitable rest stop....but that did not occur to me at the time of his final throw down. I told him to get up a couple more times and then I gave him the boot until he got up and moved on. We eventually got to camp and water and we rested there.

I tell y'all this not to reveal what an ice-hearted jackass I can be (though there is that), but to illustrate the occasional necessity of the bad cop in adventures (at all. period. but, here I add:) with children. We could have given up the trip at that point and ridden downhill to the river, swam and then gone home (we didn't know about the magic river side camp at that time), but what would that teach the boy? If he's gonna learn the lesson of suffering through, there is but one way. That's a damned important lesson to my mind.

Suffer through.

So parents: be kind, but also carry a big stick.
And brother: you are a better Father than I, and that's the troof.

1 comment:

grommet said...

Amen brother.....Love the shit out of em, kick the shit out of em. Yin Yang. I need Marty's jumpsuit A.S.A.P., Uncle Fester needs a straw hat.