Once Joscelyn and I were able to pull Julien off the computer, it was time to hit the street. My head is going in countless directions at once, so the sequence of events got kind of crazy. While the kids were preparing themselves for our day, I whipped up a few batches of weed killer and went to work in the front and back yards. Imagine: life long Bronx boy trying to kill weeds as opposed to smoking them. Anyway, the kids got themselves together and off we went.
You talk about pride? Forget it. I found myself wiping away tears. What a day. And we pretty much improvised it all.
Spontaneity is the spice of life, baby. I had general guidelines of what I thought we could do, but no specific destination. We drove over the border to Phillipsburg, New Jersey where gas is 25 cents per gallon cheaper than in Pennsylvania. They have a couple of parks there, too. Cheap gas, clean parks. What could go wrong?
We grabbed some sandwiches for a picnic, then stumbled across a cancer benefit taking place at the Phillipsburg High School football stadium, the Relay For Life. Music, games, food and a worthy cause…pay dirt. We parked, unloaded and set up.
I had thrown their bikes into the minivan in the event they wanted to ride. For once, they did. They specifically asked to ride. More than that, they took hills! Of course, with hills come spills, but they took their lumps without immediately calling for medical attention. I kissed and rubbed the boo-boos, offered some biking advice and life moved on. I was blown away. Previously, I often had to encourage them, especially Juice, to do what came naturally to my generation. Heck, when no one was available to teach me to ride, I taught myself! Kids today? For them, physical activity is — er — not always convenient. Not yesterday.
There’s nothing unusual about kids having fun on a sunny Saturday afternoon, but here’s the thing: Wings seemed to sprout from their backs and did they ever spread!
We had our picnic. After the kids wolfed down their sandwiches, as James Brown would say, they got on up, got into it and got involved! I watched in awe as they independently took part in the activities. Joss signed up for karaoke. Juice joined a pick up kickball game. They each got into conversations with the organizers. They asked questions about the causes of cancer and what they could do to help find a cure. Juice even drew anti-cancer posters and left them at the registration desk. The confidence. The maturity. The grace. My God.