There’s a park on our country road that looks like a small picnic area. We recently found out about its short trail in the woods. My daughter and I walked it about a month ago. The barren winter stillness was only broken by the persistent call of a cardinal.
We picked our way through fallen twigs, crunching leaves, and mole rippled ground, looking up occasionally to see around a bend. When we came to a fork in the road, I tried to remember where each path went.
I shrugged. “Let’s go right.”
Forty feet around a bend, the trail dead-ended at a stream. A crumbling log was the bridge.
“Come on, Mom.” My daughter walked out on the branch, effortlessly turning back to wave me on.
I stood rooted in place.
“You can do it.”
This moment is but one of many that started when she was a kid and I learned to ice skate at the age of thirty-seven because said daughter wanted us to take lessons together. Aside from a few bruises and a wrenched knee, it was a lot of fun.
Then there are the vacation adventures. My other daughter talked me into parasailing. When the guide told us the ocean was rocky and offered us an out, I didn’t want to disappoint my daughter so I, who have major motion sickness, went anyway. Turns out being high in the air isn’t as soothing as it looks. I won’t paint that picture for you, but when they tell you to put your hand on your head and they will pull you in, don’t believe them.
Then there was snorkeling. It was a bright clear day. While my daughters happily swam out in the bay, diving down to admire the colorful fish and coral, I found myself panting through the mask and turned back before I’d have to take the life preserver away from the one child in the group.
And then there was zip-lining. I zinged from tree-to-tree, only once stopping short and having to be rescued ten feet from the platform. I’d go again in a heartbeat.
Just last summer, my hiking daughter talked me into going on a six-mile hike in 85-degrees with 90% humidity. I made it, barely. A month later we did seven miles on Oregon hills. At least the weather was cooler and there were multiple waterfalls to pause and admire. I could barely walk up stairs for days after that.
In Nevada’s Red Rock Canyon, I trailed behind as my daughters scrabbled down a steep slope. When I leaned over a little farther to see where they were going, they turned in unison and yelled, “No, Mom! Don’t try it!” I had more sense than that.
Now it was forty degrees and the log looked wobbly. Balance is one of the first things to go as you age and getting wet wasn’t appealing.
I turned back and she followed.
We backtracked and took the other fork, passed through a clearing and ended by the biggest tree in the park, before we walked out the way we came. Dusk was approaching. I wondered aloud if the hooting we heard was from the owl who visited our yard.
She shared a story about someone being attacked by an owl for being in its territory. Hmm, maybe crossing the stream was less dangerous than the walk.
“I almost got you to do it.”
I just smiled. She almost did.