A child’s bond with his or her parents is the most precious thing in the universe. It is special and very important to a child’s healthy development.
Why some of my neighbors and in-laws suggested to my kids that I had something to do with their Mom’s death is unfathomable. Their meddling into a situation that they had no understanding of is reprehensible.
Those seeds of doubt they planted into my children’s minds has done more harm than their grieving over their Mother’s death. For that, I can never forgive them.
This past Friday Douglas had some of his friends over for a sleepover. Saturday morning the boys got up early and went outside to ride their scooters. They had cobbled a psuedo-skatepark in the driveway with some scrap lumber. I was watching the boys doing their tricks when I had an epiphany. What if the neighbors across the creek still had our old half-pipe? And if they did, were they ready to let us have it back?
So I crossed the creek towards their house, turned right, and there it was! Our old ramp was sitting on the curb with a “Free” sign on it. Thirty minutes later it probably would have been gone. I yelled to the boys to hurry over. When Doug saw the ramp his face lit up with joy. I told them to squat on the ramp and don’t let anyone else take it. I borrowed a friend’s pickup. We ended up tearing the old, rotted decking because it was too heavy to lift into the bed of the truck.
We got it home and assessed the damage. Other than the decking and one bottom spar, the ramp was in good condition. Doug and I began to rehab the ramp by removing all the old screws that had pulled through the rotted decking. We gave it a thorough power washing and called it a day to let it dry.
Early Sunday morning Alex went to the lumberyard and bought a new 4’x8′ sheet of plywood. Doug and I went about replacing most of the old screws with longer, Torx screws. Once we did that, we re-positioned some of the spars to make a better transition from asphalt to ramp. Doug’s friend Forrest was there to help us as we laid down the new sheet and screwed it down. We graded the area level and positioned the ramp, staked it in place and bolted a strip of sheet metal to the bottom lip.
Douglas and his friends were on it until it got dark. He and the girls are happy to have it back.
Both of the girls asked me why I had given the ramp away. Truth be told, I hadn’t. About five years ago I came home one day from the office and saw the ramp was gone. I asked Janet where the ramp was, thinking someone had stolen it. She told me that she gave it to the neighbors because “their son needed it”.
Janet never liked seeing the kids and me playing on the quarter-pipe. Somehow it violated her sense of self, where she had to control us. The kids and I spent many hours riding on the ramp and just goofing off. Janet asked me to get rid of the ramp, never giving a rational reason to do such. Every time I said no.
It’s revitalizing to have the ramp back. We’re going to have a lot more good memories on it.