My 8 year old son after school: “Hey Mom, did you drive?”

Me (bracing for the backlash): “No.”
My Son: “Good, because I really care about stopping Global Warming.”
Me: (Speechless)

I often refer to my younger son as “my guru” because while one of the sweetest boys I know he is also one of the most persistent, particularly when insisting on his own way. Some days I would swear he was especially designed to push my buttons (if you have kids, you’ll know what I mean).

One of our long-standing battles has been the l-o-n-g walk home from school.

When he was “just” a younger sibling going to pick up his school-aged older brother I let him ride in the stroller there and back, but when he started kindergarten he was expected to walk to school on his own two feet. I still let him ride in the stroller when I picked him up after school because it was a long day for him and the walk home is almost all uphill.

Sometime in the second half of his kindergarten year, however, I decided it was time for him to walk home as well. Needless to say, this was not a popular decision and led to many v-e-r-y l-o-n-g walks home and more than a few v-e-r-y embarrassing sidewalk incidents. There was kicking, there was screaming, there was crying. And that was just me. Sometimes I would have to literally drag him along behind me and, yes, sometimes I would give in and carry him home on my back.

He’s a big boy for his age and this always got a lot of comments from the other parents. “Must be nice.” “Wish I could get a lift.” But this did not deter him. He just smiled and cuddled up to me from behind.
Finally sometime in first grade he came to terms with walking home and the sidewalk drama ended.

Then one day I drove to pick them up. I had been out running errands and was a bit late getting back so I just parked near the school, met the kids and we drove the l-o-n-g five blocks home.
The kid thought he had died and gone to Heaven. We could drive? It had never even occurred to him.

Ever since then I get asked the same question nearly every day after school, “Did you drive?

99 times out of 100 the answer is no, which leads to the following conversation:

My Son: “Why not?”
Me: “Because we live within walking distance.”
My son: “So what, you could still drive. Can you drive tomorrow?”
Me: “No.”
My Son: “Why not?”
Me: “Because we live within walking distance.”
Repeat endlessly.
Imagine my surprise a couple of days ago when we had the following exchange:
“Mom, did you drive?”
“No, I didn’t drive.”
“Good.”

At which point I stopped and looked at him, certain that he had finally discovered sarcasm – it happens to the best of ‘em eventually – but he was dead serious. So I asked him why he was glad I didn’t drive.

“Because I really care about stopping Global Warming. Next time you are running errands you shouldn’t drive either. You shouldn’t even drive to your errands if they are close by, like the grocery store, you shouldn’t drive there. You should walk.”

He may be a few years away from grasping sarcasm, but the irony was palpable. All I could do was smile, take his hand and keep on walking the l-o-n-g walk home.

Lara Simmons

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One Response

  1. Sasha says:

    Lara, it’s funny how new information or insights will help us change our perspective – even if we’ve been hearing the message already. I’m glad that your Guru (love that!) is understanding the connection between the actions we take and the consequences it has on our planet! I am so excited to see how the future unfolds, thanks to your youngest! 🙂 Thank you for another great post!

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