It’s 7:30 on an evening in early June. The sun, which we welcomed once it finally showed up, is now descending.
The heat, coupled with the mild breeze off the lake, has turned our neighborhood into what feels like the Ohio version of the West Indies.
Summer seems to have finally arrived, and my family decides to go for a walk.
I load Jedidiah into the stroller, taking extra care not to pinch his chubby little hands in the buckle since he’s trying to grab everything these days. I pull the little socks off his feet so he can relax and “air out” his pink toes.
There is a discussion of walking versus “scooting,” that is, riding on a scooter. It is decided that Daddy will walk with the dog, Mommy will walk with the stroller and the three girls will scoot on their scooters.
They “suit up,” since there is no way I’m letting them ride anything out on the street without some head protection. They are my kids, after all, and I’m the world’s biggest klutz. I secretly wish that they’d wear their bike helmets around the house, especially on our slippery kitchen floor.
Sadie puts on her new purple helmet with the pink rubber cat ears sticking out on top. She says she feels a little bit silly in it, but I think it’s the cutest thing ever! She should consider herself lucky – I almost bought the one with the long bunny ears. She hops on her scooter and spins off down the driveway.
I remember when she couldn’t stay upright for more than a few feet. Now she can fly on that thing! She easily catches up to her dad, who has gone on ahead with the puppy. She screeches to a stop (as much as a scooter can screech) next to them at the stop sign.
Adelaide, four years younger but not to be outdone, holds on tight to her little three-wheeled Princess scooter (complete with flashing red lights on the wheels), a hand-me-down from two Christmases ago. She bends her already skinned-up knees and throws caution to the wind as she tries to catch up with Sadie; I’m glad she’s so short that she doesn’t have far to fall.
Josie decides to go back in the house for one more sip of water, so we are last. I watch as she carefully puts one flip-flop clad foot on her fancy pink Razor scooter. She stops and “dismounts” to push when she gets to the bottom of the driveway, completely unashamed that she’s scared to go over the bump where it meets the street the way her big sister does.
She just shrugs, grins, straightens out her little helmet by smacking it with her hand, looks both ways and takes off. I hear her voice channeling Tweety Bird as she rolls down the street: “Singin ' in the baff tub, happy once again, watchin' all my twubbles, go swingin' down the dwain!”
As I maneuver the stroller to catch up with the rest of my family, Jedidiah is kicking his little feet like crazy. He leans his fuzzy head over the side of the stroller tray to get a birds’ eye view of the pavement rolling by under the wheels. He squeals an ear-splitting squeal – his trademark of sheer joy (or sometimes of major annoyance, depending on whether or not he’s hungry) and says “Goo!” I laugh.
I see my husband, holding on to the dog’s leash and watching to make sure everyone checks traffic. I see Sadie and Josie, goofing off and doing figure eights around each other. Josie is laughing, her whole face alight with 5-year-old joy. Sadie is hunkered down over her scooter handles, one lanky leg stretched straight out behind her – I never knew you could practice an arabesque on a scooter.
Adelaide is puffing along, trying to catch up to them. Looking over her shoulder, she decides to stick with me and her baby brother instead, since we are going more her speed. She says, “Woo wee, Mommy. I am HOT, Mom! And I am going very fast! I like this scooter but I do not like this helmet.”
I’m hot too, and the stroller isn’t getting any lighter. But right now, the summer beckons. It stretches out before us, full of possibility. So let’s all scoot!