Daniel, my middle son, was about eighteen months old when I walked into our kitchen and found him perched on top of the refrigerator. When he was six, I walked into the dining room and found him just hanging out at the top of the open door frame. He’d shimmied up with his bare feet and was perched there like some blonde-headed birdie. When he was fifteen, I opened the door from the kitchen into our garage to take out the recycling and was surprised to find the garage door up and one of Dan’s friends standing facing me in the driveway with his video camera aimed slightly up.
I dropped the recycling in the bin and nonchalantly sauntered toward Dan’s buddy. We nodded at each other and slowly I turned to see what he was filming. Perched on the edge of the garage roof was Daniel in his bright yellow bike helmet wearing knee pads on his bare legs, poised…with his pogo stick ready to jump.
“Whatcha doin’, Daniel?”
“This is going to be epic! It will make a really great video for YouTube.”
“Wrong. Dan. It’s not happening.”
“Nope. You’re going to take your pogo stick and drop it onto the front lawn over there and climb down the ladder and put the ladder away.”
“Come on, Mom. I’ve got my helmet.”
“No Dan. You have my permission to jump off anything you want on your pogo stick when you’re a full grown man, paying your own medical insurance and your own homeowner’s insurance, but right now everything’s on my ticket and I get to say, ‘no way’.”
I’m waiting up for full-grown adult Daniel tonight. He lives in Pittsburgh, PA but has work to do in the Midwest this week. Frozen, ready to bake cookies (a softball team fundraiser for one of the church youth group kids) are in the oven. The guest beds are made. Sandwiches are ready to be thrown together if he and his crew of two traveling with him are hungry when they arrive. The crew are professional stunt pogo-stickers and Daniel is in management for the X-Pogo Corporation. It’s crazy, right? Little did I know when I made Dan get down from my garage roof that day that a little over a decade later he would be earning his living off of kids doing tricks on pogo sticks.
I briefly was engaged to be married when I was still in college. I was way too young to be getting married, and he was not the right man and it didn’t take too long for me to come to my senses (that time) but, I remember telling my Dad, “Dad I can already see exactly what my life is going to be like when I marry him. He’ll finish school, I’ll finish school. He’ll work. We’ll have kids. It’s going to be boring.” Daddy said simply, “Oh, believe me Becky, once you have kids your life will never be boring.”
My dad was right. One of the very best parts of my life is being a mom. I loved the craziness of having three little boys three and under. I was glad my years as a soccer mom were short, children’s musical theater mom years were splendid, Children’s Opera Chorus mom years were sublime, punk-rock mama years coincided with my becoming a single mom. Those years were tough but tolerable with good ear plugs. I wasn’t much use as a Marching Band mom, but the boys did fine. I managed not to be too much of a helicopter mom as the boys tested their wings. And now, they’re scattered, New York City, Minneapolis and Pittsburgh. Mike’s kids, too, are grown and mostly gone and on their own.
I probably should have let Dan jump off the roof that day. He’s landed on his feet everywhere life’s taken him so far. For tonight, though, I have absolutely no regrets. I’m simply glad life’s bringing him home to hang around for a few days. Being Dan’s mom has not once been boring and for that and for him I will always be thankful.