Monday, August 24, 2009

Driving Buddy

We were going to podcast tonight, but due to an abnormal work schedule (not mine, of course), I found myself with nothing to do this evening. My sister had brought by her one year old, who hasn't yet outgrown me, and we get along pretty well. The boy loves to run and play and throw things scream in the sort of unbridled happiness I never see outside of movies with lots of X's in the titles, so I asked him if he wanted to go to the park.

It's difficult to know what the child understands and what he doesn't. I wouldn't have guessed that a one year old could have any comprehension of language, but then, my mom's dog somehow knows that "I need to pick up some envelopes at Wal-mart" translates to "I'm going to get in the car soon and if you bark enough you can go for a ride," so that shows how much I know.

But it seemed like he wanted to go, so I pretty much kidnapped him. So I loaded him up in the car* and took him to the park.We ran around on the grass, let him look at the flowers, then swung on the swings. After a while, the most muscular dude I've ever seen came up with his little blonde daughter and swung her too.** Then the child and I hung out at the pond, watching the ducks that swim in its waters and hang around its bank. We hadn't brought any bread, but a woman with a couple of kids gave us part of a tortilla to feed to them. The boy chased a white female duck quite a while and I was pretty sure she was going to bite him, though she ultimately didn't.

I carried him around after that, then let him play on the slide. He's at that age where he has no fear, and it's caused him to fall down innumerable times, but he had no problems climbing up the stairs and sliding down on his own. I sometimes find it difficult to remember a time when all I had to do was climb up someplace high and slide down to feel completely happy, but I get a glimpse at that time watching him whoop into my arms.

It was a good time. Sure, he bawled a bit when I said it was time to go home (his new favorite word is "No," which he says approximately two thousand times a day, including to every question you ask him), but as we were almost back, Jeff Buckley's cover of "Hallelujah" started on the radio, and to my surprise, the kid loved it, singing along. We both knew the words about the same, but it was just astounding to look into the back seat and see him smiling there, enjoying the late summer breeze on his face and delighting in something about this song which surely had to be new to him.

And I thought, when I'm far away, surrounded by hateful strangers, this is how I'm going to remember the boy.

And I'll either feel warm inside, or weep all the more.Rish Obediah Outfield

*Boy, I know these car seat mechanisms probably save lives, but why does it have to be such a Sisyphean task to insert the seats into the car and insert children into the seats? If he's ever going to learn the f-word, it'll be from listening to me trying to get him all strapped into that overdesigned mechanism.

**I'm not kidding, this guy was so bodybuilder-esqe that he couldn't even move right, almost the way an enormously fat person can't move right. It was weird to see this hulk out with his kid, and it made me feel ridiculously out of shape. But no worries, my kid was cuter.


Abigail Hilton said...

One year old...? Really? That is a big kid, Rish. Maybe he's 1 year 11 months 29 days, but still... I put to sleep a 4 year old girl today who wasn't any bigger than that kid looks.

>And I thought, when I'm far away, >surrounded by hateful strangers,

Aw, and, see, every other person reading this journal probably knows who these hateful strangers are, but I don't. I do know what it's like to move some where you don't know anyone. I seem to do that a lot the last 10 years. Good luck!

Big Anklevich said...

Beautiful stuff, Rish.

See, all kids aren't bad. Just ones that aren't associated with you, that's all.