We’re taking a walk. My son needs coaxing to keep up with us. He’s enthusiastic, no doubt. And that appears to be the main challenge. He’s enthusiastic about everything.
“What’s that, dad?” He’s squatting as only a two year old can squat, elbows leaning on knees, head bent forward, scrutinizing the sidewalk.
“It looks like a leaf, son.”
“A leaf. Come on, keep moving.”
We’ve only made it down the steps outside our apartment. Of course my wife is not particularly quick either, carrying our second child beneath her skin, but my son’s idea of a walk has more to do with simply being outside than actually moving one’s legs in a particular rhythm in some demonstrable direction.
I try to strike a balance. I want my son to explore. I want him to ask questions. I want him to be enthusiastic. But I also want to take my wife for a walk.
I tell my son that he doesn’t have to hold my hand if will stay in front of us. He hobbles ahead, bobbing his head in agreement. A moment later he’s behind us again. I remind him of our covenant, and he looks up, “Ahead, dad?”
“Yes, son, you need to stay ahead of us. Look, do you see the mail boxes?”
“Yes. We’re going to get the mail.” He runs ahead excitedly. He’s almost across the short width of the parking lot. He stops. There’s something bulging out of the asphalt. It’s black like the asphalt, only its different.It’s smooth, it’s rounded, and it’s not the same as the rest of the parking lot.
“What’s that, dad?”
“I’m not sure.”
We make it to the mail box without further incident. I’m packing the single letter we received into my back pocket when my son holds up his hand. His fingers are scrunched together, pinching, holding something.
“What’s that?” I ask.
“It’s monies for you.” I put my hand out and he let’s go. I don’t see the monies, but they are there all the same. “Thanks,” I reply.
“Mom, you want monies?” His fuzzy, blonde head peers up at his mother. She assents and her hand is filled with the same gift I have received. I tell him I’m putting my monies in my pocket. He shrugs his shoulders indifferently.
The going is slow again. He’s walking, but he’s mostly looking. I remind him that he needs to keep up. A glance from my wife indicates that we need to move into a more formal walking mode now. I open my left hand down towards my son, “Now it’s time to hold my hand, buddy.”
“I can’t, dad. I have monies.” Sure enough. Both of his hands have fingers extended, pinching invisible monies.
“Put one in your pocket, son, then you’ll have one hand free.” He looks up at me, and then back down, craning his neck to see his pockets. I see the dilemma immediately. His shirt is a bit too long; it covers his pockets entirely. And with his hands being full, he can’t just lift the shirt up and find them. “Put one in your other hand,” I suggest. It takes. He moves his right hand over and opening his left, carefully places the “monies” in his other hand. Mission accomplished, he lifts his right hand up and takes my hand.
“We’re walking, dad?”
“Yes, son, we’re taking a walk.”