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Living a boy’s adventure tale

Ryley and I were sitting on our back patio, discussing the depressing lack of adventure in his life. He wants to explore woods, wade in lakes, blaze trails, and “take my girl to a movie.” Okay, that last one was part of a different discussion we had a few days earlier. For the record, he has no girl.

He has a way of turning every conversation into deeper wrinkles on my forehead, though.

I told him I was sorry there were no dragons to slay ’round these parts. I promised him he’d find ways to fulfill his dreams of swashbuckling and dirtifying and bruising himself into manhood.

Just as we got up to go inside, the ice cream truck’s siren song parted the summer heat with its metallic, baby bell call.

“Can I get ice cream?” he asked.

“Have money?” I answered.

“Dad gave me $2 this morning.”

Before the K could join the O, he was out the front door. Barefoot.

I stepped outside, too, to see which direction he went. The truck’s song seemed far away. I doubted he would find it, but I let him try. He was a tiny figure at the end of our street. He stood on the corner, looking north.

I went back inside, where dinner prep was underway. I also had to poke my head out the back door to shout at the other kids to turn off the sprinkler, again.

I accidentally dumped half the pasta I was boiling for pasta salad down the drain, burning myself in the process. Joel and Beatrix were sopping wet and not happy in the backyard. Blame between the kids flew around like a hungry mosquito. I had a barefoot boy wandering hot sidewalks in search of ice cream.

I bounced from backyard to kitchen to frontyard, finding Ryley had returned. He was sitting on our lawn. He looked up the street, down the street, and at a leaf he twirled between fingers. He tore bits of grass. The music was gone.

“Why don’t you come inside?” I suggested, adding he could call a friend.

He shook his head no, the ice cream truck might come back.

Every few minutes, I glanced through the glass door.

He waited for an hour and a half. When dinner was ready, he was reluctant to come inside.

“I think the truck is gone for the day. Maybe the ice cream lady is eating her dinner?” I offered.

“I feel defeated.”

There was nothing I could do to summon an ice cream truck front and center. If I could have?

I would have.

But then it wouldn’t have been his adventure any more. Coming to terms with that as a mom has been my most demanding adventure of all—The act of letting go.

7 comments to Living a boy’s adventure tale

  • I don’t want to think about letting go yet. Sage still thinks not holding my hand in a parking lot is a pretty great adventure.

  • edj

    Ah yes. Real life adventure is hard to come by, even when you are living what others might call an adventure.
    I wish him luck in hunting the elusive ice cream truck tomorrow.

  • Would it be possible for Ryley to join Scouts? My grandson (13 as of the 12th June) is off for 6 days of hiking, etc. etc. with a bunch of Scout troops. He was so excited to be going. Or, Camp?

  • Oh the hunt. The elusive ice cream truck. This was a sweet, sweet post Gretchen.

  • Have you ever read John Eldridges “Wild At Heart?” That is what I thought of while reading this post.

    My son was given a copy of it right before he went off to college by the man who is now his father-in-law. He could really related to the spirit of adventure in its raw form that John speaks of in the heart of every boy/man. They need that kind of determination and desire to conquer, achieve victory.

    As a mom it is hard to let them go, to feel defeat…but oh the joys of those victories.
    .-= Joanne´s last blog ..How Have You Been? =-.

  • Pardon me while I gush, but I just admire you SO MUCH, as a mom.

  • “Before the K could join the O, he was out the front door.”

    Oh, I will never, ever get tired of reading what you share here, Gretchen. The buzzing mosquito of blame was pretty brilliant, too.

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