After all of the regulatory errands, ranch and personal, we headed to Melvin’s Menswear. My teenager, Austin, needed to get properly outfitted for his upcoming 8th grade graduation. Looking back I refer to this as Austin’s “Cinderella Moment.” Marvin, the most understanding and patient salesmen, grasped Austin’s teenage disinterest, and set to work with tape measure and pins in hand measuring Austin within an inch of his life. Pins were sticking in his shirt and jacket and everywhere in between marking all of the necessary alterations. Since Austin is on the slim side, lots of alterations were needed and a lot of time being measured was spent. While I tried to get him to wear a proper bowtie, after eye-rolling and deep sighs, I had to settle for a perfectly southern, striped tie.
Austin’s head was spinning while my11-year-old, Jamison, was kicked back relaxing in a chair with a Coke in is hand and a wide grin on his face, “Man, Austin, I’d hate to be you.” Not even trying to stifle his laugh, he piped out, “Oh, my! Now aren’t you just the prettiest little thing?” Brotherly love knows no bounds. Austin started to fidget. He fought to maintain his cool, disinterested attitude, and shoot “death ray” glares at his younger brother, who knew that Austin was out of his element and uncomfortable. I was barely successful in having Jamison control himself with this rare opportunity to get his brother back for all of the times the shoe had been on the other foot.
“Hanger” was in full swing when we rushed off to John’s company picnic that we were already late for. We walked into the pavilion and were greeted with a band blaring, children running around, a climbing wall, and some contraption that had bungee cords and trampolines. The boys let out a deep breath as they finally had an opportunity to blow off some steam. Jamison got in line for the trampoline / bungee cord contraption while Austin located the free ice cream. I noticed that Jamison’s glance kept falling toward the climbing wall but when I looked at him he would quickly turned his glaze.
Austin had the most satisfied look on his face as he consumed copious amount of ice cream. He then took his place in line behind Jamison for the jumping / bungee cord contraption. Austin bounced and flipped with all his might. He performed front flips and back flips with the greatest of ease. My own stomach began to gurgle in sympathy for what his stomach would surely be experiencing once all of his ice cream got mixed up. I immediately began to fear for our long ride home together.
After Rudy’s BBQ, visiting, handshaking, and Austin scurrying up the climbing wall in record time, I noticed that Jamison seemed a little discouraged and slightly panicked. My overly cautious boy had a steady glaze on that rock wall and a concerned look. Then I did what any good parent would do. I grabbed his hand and marched him over to the rock wall.
The rock wall is Jamison’s own personal nemesis. Conquering Enchanted Rock was no problem for him, he extreme camped in the mountains of Colorado for 3 days, he white water rafted on the Animas River, and he skis and sleds with abandon, but for some reason, the rock wall had always eluded him, and he declines to attempt it. “Nah, Mom, I am ok. Really, I don’t need to do the rock wall. I have accomplished enough in my 11 years. I am not missing anything.” Then in a hushed whisper only meant for my ears he concludes with, “I value my life.”
Austin snorts, “So, who’s the pretty one now?” With silent stares from all 3 of us, he stops laughing and says, “Ah, you can do it. There is nothing to it.” Jamison stood stoic as the harness was fastened around him and then asked the man helping where, “the hard side is and where the easy side is?” He took a deep breath and marched over to the hard side. He started out slow and Austin kept reminding him to put his feet on the closer “rocks” as I did my best Mom cheerleader routine which thoroughly embarrassed my entire family. Before we knew it he was proudly ringing the bell with a grin so wide you could see it across county lines. He was lowered down, and noticing that there was no line waiting to go, he immediately shot right back up the wall and rang the bell again just for good measure.
“Did you see that? And on my first try.” Jamison held his head high with that certain look of accomplishment that makes parents’ hearts melt and swell all at the same time.
“Now that's one off my bucket list.” he said. I smiled, realizing that my 11-year-old had already established a bucket list, and apparently I helped him check off an item. Little did he know that he helped me check a big one off my list by being the parent of an adventuresome yet cautious, understanding, and brave boy.”