Gray Matters — The 'wicked diggah'
Belfast — A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the various ways I've managed to hurt myself, and the resulting affects on my body both past and present.
Now, my son Shane has demonstrated just how alike we truly are when he started riding his bike without the long-trusted safety net of the training wheels.
Shane was so excited when I pulled in the driveway at my folks house after work that day, and he couldn't wait to show me how his skills have progressed over the summer.
"Mom, I am very impressed with myself," he announced as he sped past me, his face plastered with a wide grin.
It was all fun and games until the next day, when he discovered the hand brakes, and the giant hill up behind my parents' house. That was the beginning of Shane's ability to create the biggest skid marks on the dirt driveway at the base of said hill, and what soon turned out to be the end of about seven layers of skin on his left shoulder.
On the third day of Shane's adventures without training wheels, at some point he decided the more speed, the better. I suspect the fact that he was playing with a few of the neighborhood girls may have been the inspiration behind that, despite the fact that Shane adamantly denied it when my father, post-injury, accused him of being a big show-off.
It was after one of the many times Shane came careening down that same hill when he decided it was unseasonably hot out and opted to ride shirtless (his first big mistake). On the very next run down the hill, with no intention of slowing down for the descent, Shane waited until the ground beneath him leveled out, squeezed the hand brake with all his strength and sent himself flying into the gravel-covered earth.
When he picked himself up off the ground and marched into the house — all without crying, as Shane is quick to point out every time he tells the story — evidence of what soon came to be known as "the wicked diggah" could be seen on his knees and elbows, both of which were scraped up pretty well. But the wound of which Shane was most proud — still visible almost two weeks later — was the road rash that took over his left shoulder.
"Look, mom, there's still dirt in it!" he exclaimed, right before advising me against washing it up to prevent infection. "It looks cool."
In the days that followed, the road rash changed in appearance as it healed, but never seems to look less, well, gross. Not that it matters to Shane, though, he'll show that battle scar off to anyone who will listen to his account of how he took what is now the legendary "wicked diggah."
"Look at my awesome road rash," he will say to everyone who enters my home, all while rolling up his sleeve and displaying his injury like a badge of honor.
It looks painful to me, but when I think back to my youth, few things were better topics of conversation on the bus rides to school than how you and your friends did cool things, got hurt and of course, didn't cry (whether you really did or not).
I've seen Shane displaying his injury shortly after boarding the bus, and I knew that was likely the start of such a conversation, after which one of his seat mates may have likely showcased one of their cuts, bruises or abrasions earned in another, equally awesome childhood mishap-slash-adventure.
It's always hard for a parent to see our kids get hurt, even when they think it's cool. It's even harder as a mom to recognize when we need to dial back the urge to run to them, sweep them away from the scene of the injury and make it all better with Neosporin and a Band-Aid. The Neosporin and Band-Aid are usually still necessary, but I am now learning to use a little restraint during these kinds of events because as my son says, "I'm not a baby, you know."
Believe me, I know, and it's not an easy thing to come to terms with. Today it's riding without training wheels, but before I know it, he'll be going for his driver's license and finding other new and inventive ways to somehow get into harm's way.
But for now, I think I will focus on today, and try my best to tough it out when the kid inevitably takes his next "wicked diggah."