PostHeaderIcon The Long Walk

By Jael Strong

Today, Jackson and I went on a one-hour walk to the store and back and it reminded me of a much shorter walk of six years ago. We were staying at a hotel and had to walk all of five minutes to our destination, but Jackson lagged terribly behind and complained so much that the walk must have turn into fifteen or twenty minutes. Every four steps he would lean against a building and let out a whimper. I was un sympathetic and let him know. His response? “But my organs hurt!”

Now, how could that not make me laugh? He didn’t have a stomach ache, he wasn’t tired, his shoes weren’t too tight; his organs hurt! The child has an uncanny way of taking potentially volatile situations and making them hilarious.

On our walk today, he trailed far behind me, although his legs are much longer than mine. He has no excuse; he should be out running me the whole way. He didn’t complain that his organs hurt, though I did turn around once to see him dramatically clutching his side. At one point, he begged for a five-minute break.

I grew weary of having to wait, so I told him that if he didn’t keep up he would not be able to play with his new airplane today. A miracle happened! He was able to keep up. But there was a casualty to my demand for speed. He had been tossing a snowball into the air and catching it, but when I gave the airplane ultimatum, he let the snowball fall in an effort to catch up. Ever the dramatist, Jackson informed me, “Thanks mom! You made me lose my snowball!”

Maybe it shouldn’t matter

Maybe it shouldn’t have mattered when he was six, and maybe it shouldn’t matter now. Perhaps I should go at his speed, instead of him going at mine. When he was six, I was in a rush to get someplace on time. Today, I was trying to exercise and didn’t want to slow down. I’ll always have a reason to rush because that is the way I am.

But that is not the way he is. He likes to take it all in. He likes to talk to everybody. He wants to point out the homes of acquaintances and wave at the people passing by. That snowball didn’t cost a penny and he was having a great time tossing it into the air. He always gets to his destination, but he has a good time along the way. That isn’t such a bad thing.

I guess the important thing is that he still wants to go on walks with me. He doesn’t seem to mind my constant badgering for him to speed it along. I get frustrated, but he was smiling when we got home. As adults, we tend to want or need to rush from one thing to the next, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to stroll along at least some of the time and just enjoy what we are doing.

One Response to “The Long Walk”

  • Juan says:

    Interesting… When I go on walks with my nephew I find myself ritualistically being transformed into my father. I bark, “walk next to me, not behind me!” I’m paranoid that he doesn’t want to be seen walking with him.

    I had an epiphany the other day. I wasn’t ashamed of walking with my dad, and my nephew is probably not ashamed either. But my father’s barking was very irritating and so must mine be. Let the cycle be unbroken…

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