I don’t know about you, but as a kid in grade school, recess was maybe the best part of the day…if you could get to the swings faster than anyone else. At the school I went to anyway, the swings were the one playground item everyone wanted to be on, and if you were a little slower getting there, you missed out. That usually meant that the younger students had to find something else to do…until they got older anyway. There was no time limit to be on the swings, but most of the kids were pretty good about swinging for a while and then getting off, but then recess was only 15 minutes long, so how much time did that leave the rest of the kids…not much.
The fight to get to the swings first, and the ultimate lose of that battle for many children, did very little to sway them from trying to get there, however. Every recess, the bell would ring, and the doors to the playground burst open as the kids ran for the swings. Of course, a few tears were inevitable, because there are always the little fights and little ones don’t always lose well, but all in all, they learned pretty quickly that the best solution to the problem, was to practice your running. The faster you are, the more likely you will end up with a swing.
This whole process goes on for a time, and then about 6th grade, which was still in grade school when I was a kid, the kids aren’t so interested in the swings anymore. They have started to mature some and look forward to being more like the kids in junior high, or middle school as it is known today. Playing on the swings was suddenly beneath them. How quickly things change. One year, you are fighting over the swings, and the next you are acting like all those little kids are so far beneath you that it is completely unbelievable.
Now flash forward a few years, and…well, I don’t know about you, but it’s funny how much fun those swings can be when you are on a date with your boyfriend. Of course, anything is romantic when you are on a date, right? In the years I dated my husband, Bob, I can’t count how many times we ended up at the park swinging on the swings like little kids. It seemed so different from those grade school days, somehow. It wasn’t nearly as juvenile as it used to be. Now it was romantic…and fun again.
Boys go through stages of being tough and being sentimental. A boy who plays the tough guy one minute, might turn right around and bring his mom flowers. My nephew, Riley us one of those kids who is tough as nails in many areas of his life. He has practiced the martial arts, played football, and broken at least one bone every year from age three to age twelve. Riley has had a fractured elbow, two fractured wrists, broken thumb, a concussion, both knee patellae highly extended, fractured forearm, two sprained ankles and now a broken coracoids. You would think he would almost be afraid to move for fear of another break, but Riley is proud of every injury he has had. I suppose it all goes back to that country song about “chicks digging scars” that makes it so cool, but it sure doesn’t do anything for his mom’s sanity.
Nevertheless, as tough as Riley is, when it comes to his little brother, Tucker, he has a very big, soft heart. Tucker is his little brother after all, and as such Riley has placed upon himself, the responsibility of being Tucker’s protector. It doesn’t matter if a protector is really needed all the time or not, as far as Riley is concerned, Tucker is his little brother and he is going to do whatever is necessary to keep him safe and to let him know that his big brother loves him very much.
Riley is in junior high…or middle school, as it is called these days, and as happens with all young boys, he is changing in many ways, with girls being the most noticeable. This year, as a 7th grader, he has now decided that it is very necessary to buy a young lady at school a rose. And with that, the world has changed for him and his parents. In fact, things will never be the same, but then that is pretty much normal for boys his age. Riley will continue to change in the years to come. Driving, dating, and before long marriage will all find their way into his life. This is just the beginning. Today is Riley’s 13th birthday. He’s a teenager now, folks…look out!! Happy birthday Riley!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Having grown up in town, I didn’t spend much time around horses. I had a friend that lived out in the country, and rode a little when I went to her house, but I didn’t meet her until junior high, so I didn’t ride often, even though I found myself enjoying it when I did. My girls got to ride when we went to visit Bob’s grandmother in Montana, but that was just once a year, so they were no more experienced than I was. We were what would have to be like tourist horseback riders. I have been looking at some really old family pictures, and I have come to the determination that our kind of riding would have been unacceptable in the days of the Old West.
When Bob was growing up, they spent more time around horses than we did, and so had the opportunity to ride more than I did. Still, of he rode when he was very little, he always had someone older on the horse with him. Most of the time you would see Bob with his sisters, Marlyce and Debbie. It was a way to make sure he didn’t fall off, because he would have probably tried to make the horse gallop or buck, if I know him.
Apparently however, just a few short generations back, children were expected to be born with horse riding expertise, because I found this picture of Lester, my first cousin once removed on my Grandpa Byer’s side, and he was pretty little when he first was placed on a horse. Lester was born in 1920, and while I’m sure that he didn’t do much riding in this picture, it did strike me as amusing that here he was being a grown up big boy and sitting on his horse all by himself. I’ll bet that by the time he was 5 years old or so, he was a pretty accomplished horseman too, since he had such an early start. Even if he wasn’t an expert, my guess is that he certainly was not a tourist horseman…like me.