Walking the Boy

When beloved youngest son was a toddler, he had an emperor’s sized will and the desire to conform of a hermit. He was a safety risk like a smoker on oxygen. We had our moments. 

Once, the three youngest kids and I had gone to a local art fair downtown. We were watching the tourists and looking at the art and eating the fair food. Youngest son was about two years old. I was holding his hand while we sauntered around. I got distracted by a beautiful watercolor painting and he broke free. He ran about 15 feet from me while I and his sister called him to come back. I started walking toward him and he looked me right in the eye before he darted in the opposite direction–right into traffic. A car slammed on its brakes and stopped about three feet from his rounded toddler belly. He stared wide-eyed at the car and I swooped him up and to the sidewalk. I carried him to the car, and we went immediately to the store and bought one of those child leashes.

I used to think that parents that would resort to such a thing were mean or lazy. But what I thought when I bought the thing was: he might spend years in therapy getting over his mother putting him on a leash. But at least he would be alive, to be in therapy. 

Oddly, the boy loved the leash and would bring it to me to go for walks, like a dog. Go figure.

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