Son, Please Wait Up From Time to Time

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I don’t want my kids to stop growing up so fast. I just hope they wait up every now and then so I can catch up and enjoy them.

I’ll never forget the week before I left for college. I had just turned 18 and was desperate to leave home and start a new chapter of my life, as most recent high school graduates are. My dad took me out to eat as a goodbye, and to have a heart-to-heart. Man to man. I was slightly annoyed because I had to cancel plans with friends, but I relented. I’m glad I did.

My dad didn’t just work full time when I was growing up, he worked MASSIVE amounts of time. He was busy helping to build a business from scratch, and I’d routinely go entire days without seeing him. In a moment of candor, he told me that was a huge regret and he would always be worried about the time he missed as we grew up. Then, with tears in eyes, he joked that just as I was getting interesting I was leaving, and he made one request.

“I know you’ll be busy, but I just really hope you’ll want to hang out every now and then. Because I really like spending time with you.”

As an 18-year-old I just thought it was sweet but kind of sappy. But nearly 20 years later as a parent of two (soon to be three), I know exactly what he means. And I feel precisely the same way.

Doesn’t it seem like the older our kids get the faster they get away from us? Not only that, they’re constantly aided by evolution and technology to hasten their escape.

Think about it. First they crawl, then they walk, and then they run. Next comes the first tricycle, then the first bike, and finally a car. And I’m not even counting TV, cell phones, and tablets, which doesn’t transport them physically but certainly are an escape of sorts.

Will turned 7 in April. I’ve enjoyed watching him grow, even as that growth firms up his independence and makes me that much more unnecessary. I could keep pace with his crawling, walking, and running. And even when he’s riding his bike, he still can’t completely outrun me.

But now he can leave me in the dust.

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This amazing scooter from Razor arrived at our house last week, and it is just awesome. You should’ve seen his face when he walked into the house and saw it — pure bliss. After all, what 7-year-old (technically it’s for kids 8+ but Will is very tall and responsible) wouldn’t love an electric scooter with twist-grip acceleration that tops out at 10 mph?

After a safety lesson and securing his helmet, we took it to a nearby bike path — and in an instant he was gone.

I was pushing Sam in his stroller and suddenly I felt the familiar pull of ecstasy and trepidation. I love watching the pride he takes in learning something new, but watching him literally zip away from me at high speeds stung a bit.

So I did what most dads would do — I got behind the stroller and began running as hard and fast as I could.

I’m a big guy and that scooter goes 10 mph with ease. I yelled up to Will, who had stopped along the path, that I was coming for him as Sam squealed in (nearly) 2-year-old delight at the wind hitting his face as I built up steam. Faster and faster, until my legs burned and I pulled even with him in a fit of huffing and puffing non-glory.

In the battle of man vs machine, this man proved woefully inadequate. I began to slow as my legs got heavy and the pace became unsustainable. With the little breath I had left, I shouted “Go buddy, go!” and prepared for him to officially leave me in the dust. Because if you do your job right, that’s what kids should do. Onward and upward.

But suddenly — 18 years after my father’s honest talk with me — it was my turn to have tears in my eyes. Not because Will was zipping ahead, but because he was waiting up for me.

The motor grew softer and his speed decreased. He came to a stop, flipped up the kick stand, turned to me and yelled “You comin’, dad?”

I’m coming. As long as he’ll wait up for me from time to time, I’ll be there. And I’ll be grateful.

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I received no monetary compensation for this post, but I did receive the Razor E100 electric scooter. But as always, all opinions are my own. Razor is a great company with terrific products, and you should check out its website, Facebook, and Instagram.

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