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Fleeting youth, fleeting sanity

When the kids aren’t present sometimes judgment falters and we parents do things that maybe we shouldn’t. When I was ten years old I had a skateboard. My father found it in the garage and, perhaps feeling a bit younger than his thirty-five years, hopped on to give it a go…and landed flat on his back.
The moral of the story is: Parents aren’t as young as they think they are.

Time marches on. Now my dad is sixty-five. Recently he visited, and was amazed by the flexibility of my youngest daughter who is almost six years old. Even though she is wheelchair bound she is able to stick her right foot above her head and is quite comfortable, leaving it there for hours on end.

Well, my dad got to thinking about this later on when he got back home. Did it hurt? How did she do that? If she can do it, then so can I….

So he got down on the floor and tried to raise his foot above his head…and immediately cramped up because sixty-five year old bodies don’t work like that. Thank goodness he got his leg back down before my mom had to call the paramedics.

“What’s the problem, Ma’am?”

“My husband’s leg is stuck in the air.”


“His foot is stuck behind his head.”


Can you just imagine them wheeling my father out on a stretcher, covered with a sheet and his leg still in the air?

Well, to prove that the nut doesn’t fall too far from the tree I went ice-skating with my daughters one year in recent memory. It was probably on the 25th anniversary of the day my dad tried the skateboard. At thirty-five years of age my curiosity kicked in and I tried to ice skate for the first time in my life.

I soon learned that the faster you go, the better you balance — until I accidentally hit the brakes and did a tremendous belly flop and slid ten feet.

It wasn’t the fall that bruised my ego; it was the shock on the faces of my children. You know the look. It’s the one that says: You’re so old! Did you break everything? Are you dead?! Lucky for me the only thing that died on the ice was my pride and a fleeting memory of my youth.

So kids, do your parents a favor. Don’t leave your roller blades, skateboards, pogo sticks and other parent-crippling devices around. Who knows when one of them is going to feel like a kid again and leap to their doom?

On second thought, just put the family doctor on speed dial. You’ll need it.

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