How Old Is Old Enough For a Dirt Bike?Tanis Miller
It’s almost every day. The two of us are like apples and oranges and if you ever saw an apple next to an orange in a fruit bowl, you’d know how vicious our fruit fighting can get. We sit beside one another and give each other the stink eye until we become mature enough to reasonably solve our squabbles like the grown ups we are supposed to be.
While we disagree on every thing from politics to whether Star Trek was better than Star Wars (I’m always going to be a Trekkie darling, no matter how many diamonds you buy me) we hardly ever disagree on how to raise our children
Which is helpful, since you know, we have four smalls between the two of us.
Two of our smalls are no longer so small, and as they grow they are exposing the cracks in my husband and my parental foundation. Turns out, while we once saw eye to eye on when to stop cutting up grapes and how to potty train, we are miles apart in the big things. Like who should teach our teens to drive. Who gets to explain why condoms are so important. When are they old enough for cell phones.
While this parental discord is leaving me a little off balance, for the most part we are surviving this new chapter of our parenting responsibilities without killing our marriage. One small battle at a time and with a lot of grace displayed by my husband and a lot of foot stomping temper tantruming displayed by me.
But there is one argument that is going not going away and neither of us are prepared to change our minds. My husband was a country raised child and as such was afforded the opportunity to play with expensive toys. Toys such as dirt bikes. I was raised in the city and the only thing with wheels I played with was my Barbie’s corvette and the bicycle I inherited from my older brother.
I firmly believe, having buried one child already, why ask for trouble? It’s not like there is nothing for my kids to do out here. Our yard is basically a child’s version of heaven, complete with 20 acres of forest to explore, animals to care for, a pool to swim in, bikes to ride, a trampoline to bounce on and a tree fort to climb into.
There is enough opportunity for childhood disaster without adding two wheels and speed into the equation.
My husband claims I need to loosen up and let kids be kids. But I can’t shake the idea that accidents happen. Lightening really can strike twice and I really don’t need to play with that particular flame of fire.
Both my daughter and my son, weeks away from turning fifteen and fourteen respectively, are firmly on their father’s side. They are all for twirling about in the pasture at break neck speeds and try to reassure me with platitudes that they will be safe, they’ll wear helmets, it will be okay Mom, just trust us.
But they don’t remember the boy they went to school with who broke his spine while riding an ATV two years ago. They don’t hear of the stories of people snapping their necks while wearing their safety helmets. They don’t think about the pot holes and tree roots that pop up in real time like a bad video game.
So I have dug my heels in and I’m not budging. It’s bad enough my kids are old enough to start learning to drive where we live, and I’ve already had to endure the terrifying reality of seeing my daughter behind the wheel of a vehicle.
I’m still stuck on the fact my children are now taller than me and have one foot out the door. I don’t want to hand them the keys to get out faster. I swear, just yesterday they were asking me to help them wipe their bums.
So I’m on one side of the fence shaking my head back and forth with an emphatic NO, while my husband and my kids are on the other, jumping up and down yelling, YES!
I’m not a fan of fences. Yet I just can’t see a gate to open to find a spot where all of us can agree on this issue.
I figure if I hold out long enough my kids will eventually safely grow up and move out where they can then feel free to try and maim themselves on whatever motorized equipment which floats their boats without me having to feel I was responsible for it.
Instead, I’ll be free to yell at my husband, “I TOLD YOU SO!”