Today on a walk, I saw a skateboard ramp just like the one M had when he was ten. It was such a nice, sturdy one with a soft, gentle slope up, a nice little landing, then a nice little gentle slope down.
I remember a day he had his good friend D over to play. The boys dragged the ramp out of the garage and set it up in the driveway. (M liked to ride his bicycle up and over it, again and again and again.) I reminded the boys to be careful, put on their helmets and stay on the sidewalk.
Not long after I went inside, D came running into the kitchen – M was hurt. Running down the front walk, I caught a glimpse of the ramp just off to my left. He had disassembled it and stacked the gentle slopes on top of one another to create a high ramp. This “ramp” was placed at the bottom of the hill, still on the sidewalk.
M, wearing his helmet, was a bloody mess in the large, freshly trimmed, forsythia bushes. One of the blunt, thick limbs had punctured his arm near his elbow on the inner part of his arm.
As I gently pulled him out of the bushes, I realized that he didn’t even have his shirt on – and he was bleeding from scrapes all over his torso. So, he had turned his ramp into a cliff, and was half naked – but he did have on his helmet, and they were still on the sidewalk.
Six years later…
As he’d leave the house to go out with “friends” this summer and early fall, I would remind him to be careful and to call whenever he got “there” (wherever “there” was.) So many things I didn’t think to tell him; I didn’t realize how dangerous it was out there for a teen like M. Maybe I should have been more explicit with send-offs, because lurking in the most seemingly innocent places, my impulsive teen found danger and steep, hazardous cliffs.