Just came in from playing catch football with the boy.  He is taking a break from reading, yes, I know.  I was tossing the ball and he wanted me to throw it short, or wide, so he could dive for it.  Sure we were playing on the grass of the front yard, but still it occurred to me, when did I start worrying about hurting myself when doing things?  He is just a free spirit running and diving on the grass, or running wide open at the basketball net and not worrying if he bangs into the upright, me on the other hand very cautious, very deliberate in my movements.

I felt this needed further thought and I reflected back on my life.  When I was a young boy in Canada I played ice hockey, not much padding, no gloves, and definitely no helmet.  Did I worry about getting hurt, no.  Then it was tobogganing in the winter down very steep snowy hills with brick buildings at the bottom, again no fear.  Now we move into my early work years, definitely not worried about hurting myself.  At 30 I decided to take up auto racing, roaring around the local tracks on Saturday night, fearless maybe a little, but I was becoming more cautious.  Then it was more travelling, working where we had to take a helicopter to work everyday, hooking up cargo nets under a hovering helicopter, still no real fear.

Then it dawned on me, the fear started when the child was born, or more likely when the wife was pregnant with the child.  Things changed, I was concerned about a future, about being around for him, I slowed down driving, I wore a seat belt (gasp) and even slowed when the light turned yellow.  My goodness, it was true, I hadn’t done a dangerous, or should I say carefree, thing since the boy was born.  Now I am watching him,  yes it is early but he is starting along the path.  Is it a path all boys take to manhood?  Is it also something that happens in girls, though I doubt it.  Is it a rite of passage, maybe, but now I know why my parents would sit and shake their heads when I appeared at the dinner table skinned knees, bruised elbows or some other self-inflicted damage to my still young body.

Advertisements