Today I took the kids to the skate park on our bikes. It’s right next to the pool and we always stop to watch for a minute. They’ve wanted to check it out for some time. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, on the penultimate day of summer vacation, the park was packed full of fourteen-year-olds on boards and BMX’s. It was not conducive for a five- and seven-year old to try to ride the ramps for the first time, but they got a few runs in. Mo wiped two or three times--didn’t turn fast enough going up a six-foot quarter pipe and dropped about 18 inches, right off the edge. A couple of times Phoebe started to go up a ramp but ran out of momentum and went down backwards, just the way she came.
More than anything we were just in the way. Phoebe and Mo just don’t have the reflexes or cognitive skills to watch the other skater/riders, anticipate where they are going and steer themselves clear all the while operating their own bikes. While kids who hang out at the skate park aren’t known for their manners, these guys were very generous and gave the kids a wide berth, but I knew we would soon outstay our welcome.
Of course Mo wigged out when it was time to go. We didn’t stay as long as he wanted. I promised we would come back again--soon--when it was less crowded. He did not believe me. He screamed and cried the whole ride home and for the following half hour--happy birthday to me.
You would think it would be easy to convince them that we really would be back, but they don’t know me as a person….a person with my childhood not so far behind me…they think I’m just their mom. And they are little--it means nothing to them that right now I’m wearing checkerboard Vans and a Beastie Boys t-shirt.
How could they know that when they hit junior high and high school if I got to choose between suffering through afternoons of wrestling matches and Friday night football games OR going to the skate park….!? If PHOEBE someday picks working on the half-pipe over volleyball or soccer….!? Good land, would I be a happy mom.
I know I spent high school on the pompon squad and singing and dancing and doing all sorts of straight squeaky clean school sanctioned activities. But deep down I always wanted to be a skater chick. I idolized Stephanie King and Marcy Spanogle -- the coolest skater girls to ever walk the halls of Kirkwood High. I watched the Bones Brigade videos a bazillion times (The Search for Animal Chin? “We’ll travel round the world, we’ll go the to equator just to find this incredible skater. But if we don’t find him that’s okay because we had a rad time anyway.”) One summer there was a skate park set up at the Kirkwood Ice Rink--Thrasher magazine or somebody sponsored it --and there were exhibitions and a skate camp. That was the coolest thing ever--hanging out there, seeing Steve Caballero and Lance Mountain! I still have my Dead Milkmen & Red Hot Chili Peppers cassette tapes and I mean OLD Chili Peppers--can you say Uplift Mofo Party Plan?
I’ll probably end up being just as bad as any Husker-fan parent who pushes their kids into football for the slim, slim chance that they might someday go to UNL and play ball. Just as bad as any Harvard grad dressing their kids in little blazers, yammering about GPA’s and pushing the ivy league. Only I’ll be saying, “Seriously, Moses, a Mohawk would be a good look for you.” And “You’ll never make the X-Games with a backside air as sloppy as that!” Or “If you want a Powell Peralta sponsorship someday you better get your butt on down to the skate park--you won’t get one sitting here making student council campaign posters, that’s for sure!” And “We named you Ollie for a reason! Now get out there and show me whatchoo got!”
We’re all doomed.