“Can I go skydiving?”
Whoa. That was a question I expected to hear when my son turned 18. Not 4.
“Skydiving?” I asked to confirm his earlier query regarding jumping from a perfectly good airplane at 10,000 feet and falling 120 mph to the earth to land in what would surely be the manner of a squashed bug on the windshield of life.
I don’t think so.
“Yes! I wanna go skydiving,” he answered. “And I wanna blue parachute!”
While I was curious to know where he got this lunatic idea from (thank you very much, Scooby Doo) at least I was comforted by the fact he was wise enough to know he would need a parachute.
It is, after all, what saved Shaggy on several occasions.
And since he had apparently spent some time thinking about his plan, I didn’t have the heart to shoot it down with the heat-seeking missile of my negativity. So I said what any self-respecting mom would say.
“Ask your father.”
Children should have hobbies. But I doubt even Britney Spears would approve of skydiving as an appropriate activity for a preschooler.
So it was off to the pond to teach our son the finer points of fishing. But we’re not stupid. We invited along an expert - Grandpa. And Grandma came along carrying lunch. How smart are we?
But then we also brought along two dogs.
OK. So we’re a little stupid.
For the next hour, it was a game of Grab the Collar as each dog wiggled loose to jump muzzle first in the cool, clear water. Splashing and flailing, rolling in muck and scattering fish in every direction. It was like watching the Swedish Bikini Team wrestle in Jell-O.
Not that I’ve actually seen it, but that was my husband’s comment.
After the two had exhausted themselves, they collapsed in wet heaps under the nearest tree. Praying the fish hadn’t sprouted legs and run off to Canada, we decided it was time to get down to business.
“Who’s got worms?” my father-in-law yelled out. I looked around, thinking he was talking to one of the dogs then realized he was looking straight at me.
“Uh...I...don’t have...worms,” I stammered, wondering what kind of gossip had spread through our small Midwestern town. “And I don’t care what you’ve heard!”
“Nooooo,” he laughed and pointed to the fishing pole. “Worms for the hooks.”
Ah, that makes more sense. My husband stepped forward with a small plastic container and said, “Here you go.”
“Is that what you bought from the guy under the tent by the side of the road on our way out here?” I asked.
“Sure, what did you think I was doing?” he answered.
It didn’t seem appropriate to ask at the time.
Then I realized my role in this bizarre little transaction.
“YOU MEAN THERE ARE WORMS IN THAT THING? I HELD THAT IN MY LAP!” I yelled. I began to feel light-headed and frankly more than a little grossed out. I reached out to brace myself against a tree, bent over and gagged.
“They’re just worms, Mommy,” the voice of reason said behind me. I turned my head to see said worm dangling from my son’s fingertips just three inches from my nose.
And...uh...that’s when I passed out.
“Mommy,” my son yelled from the bank, “I gotta go potty!”
Sure. No problem. We were, after all, in the Great Outdoors. This is what every little boy dreams of - getting to whiz on a tree outside without being picked up for public indecency.
I motioned toward the trees and said, “Pick one and go for it.”
He hopped excitedly toward me and said, “No, I have to go number 2.”
Oh, that presented a bit more of a challenge, didn’t it? I grabbed some napkins from the lunch basket and said, “Follow me.”
We hiked over to the far side of the pond. I pointed at a patch of grass and said, “There you go. Nature’s toilet.”
He shrugged as if to say “You’re the boss” and dropped his shorts. After he finished, he turned to me in excitement and said. “Wow! I went potty on the ground just like a dog! Wait’ll I tell everybody!”
So much for fishing, I thought and shook my head as he ran off. There’s always a catch. But not in the way you’d think.