I wanted to ride a RipStik.
No hanging onto my oldest son. No gripping the sides of my toddler’s Cozy Coupe car…
Alone — and if that wasn’t enough…expertly.
The thought of being able to cruise full circles around the driveway with ease and maybe (just maybe) learn how to lean down and run my fingers across the concrete only to stand right back up was exhilarating.
My obsession started last year when the boys were given a RipStik for their birthday. All of their friends had one, too. They would speed around effortlessly, twisting in every direction.
I wanted to ride a RipStik.
Maybe it had something to do with me turning thirty-five years old this year. Sure, I have always enjoyed being active but flying down the road on a RipStik? That’s a major accomplishment — akin to scaling Mount Everest (for some of us).
Was I too old “to rip it” with my kids?
No. I would practice and learn. I would prove the naysayer, that inner voice that dared to question my capabilities, wrong — dead wrong.
While Will was supportive, I discovered rather quickly that his enjoyment of spinning me in a circular pattern until I couldn’t see straight was much too strong for him to be a reliable guide. Instead, I enlisted the help of my oldest son.
Bryce thought my determination to master the RipStik was hysterical and felt no need to hide his disbelief and chronic giggles as he lead my wobbly frame around. I lost track of the times he shook his head but he stuck with me.
It’s my theory that somewhere deep down inside Bryce was as committed as I was to making his thirty-five year old mother ripstik like a pro. At least, that’s what I kept telling myself…
More than likely the idea of my leg in a cast for several weeks had him latched onto me like an extra appendage — that would have changed the dynamics of our house for a while.
In truth, I was fearful.
Something about being taller, balancing on a board with two wheels, and feeling out of control has a way of damaging the confidence in a person’s skill level. Seeming as how I had no skill level at all, I was in the negative — way negative area.
However, the fear is what kept me coming back.
Crush and conquer fear until the uncertainty it conjures up in the pit of my stomach completely disappears.
And that is exactly what I did.
Sure, I needed to be working on my summer project list: clean out the attic, refinish my bedroom furniture, scrape the food-based fortress out from underneath Nate’s chair, finish my sewing projects, gather my curriculum for next year…
But the RipStik dominated my “to do” list.
Weed eat the yard? There it was, lying there, laughing in my face.
Carrying in the groceries? I was taunted as I tripped over it walking through the garage.
Pulling into the driveway? It basked in the sun strategically placing itself in my way…mocking me.
Watching my kids play? It shouted, “They can ripstik it up and you never will!”
And the dreams? Vivid — me ripping through the city — the wind blowing in my face.
I would master that RipStik or else!
(Or else nothing would ever get done around here.)
Several months after my preoccupation with this device started, the magic happened.
There I was clinging to my crutch…the old red Cozy Coupe — my constant source of comfort and stability.
I let go and rolled over five LONG feet!! Yes!! I turned to look at Bryce — we would celebrate together!!
“Mom, that’s like a C minus”
“A C minus? Are you kidding me? Look how far I went. Come on, Bryce!”
“C minus…you still aren’t mounting the RipStik like I taught you…CCCCCCC minusssss”
And then Will’s encouraging voice from the backyard…
“Do you want him to grade you like an accomplished athlete or a thirty-five year old mother?”
“But I can’t get on the board like that. I’m telling you. I’ve tried!”
“Mom…let go of the car, stand up straight, and push off with your front foot so you’ll quit falling over.”
The look on his face.
The one where you have spent an obscene amount of time trying to teach someone something and they just. will. not. listen.
So this is what it feels like to be on the other end?
“Fine. I’ll do it.”
“Okay, fine. Do it. Quit being a chicken.”
Chicken? Did he just call me a chicken?
It’s hard to describe in words what took place next. Everything was in slow motion. Chariots of Fire was playing in background. It was just me and the RipStik. I carefully followed Bryce’s instructions. One foot, then the other…
And I was flying!
The wind blowing in my face, my eyes on the goal, I twisted and turned — I had done it!
The RipStik would no longer sit unconquered.
And then the recognition of true success from my oldest son.
“See, I told you! Now that’s an A minus (we would discuss the minus part later). Good job, Mom! Now why don’t you try this.”
We high-fived — I jumped into the air, fist pumped, ran in circles, threw pistols shots at the RipStik, and hollered like an idiot.
No, my lesson plans aren’t finished, the attic is still in disarray, and what looks to be stalagmites are still growing under Nate’s chair but I have been victorious this summer over a plastic board with wheels…
So, go find your “RipStik” — whatever that may be — and latch onto the accomplishment of what appears to be the small things.
It’s the small things, after all, that motivate us to greater feats.