"Will you walk my paper route with me?" my daughter asked as evening settled over town two nights ago. I had no excuses to throw her way, so I went.
She is a seasoned paper route expert. She knows exactly which mailboxes do not want mail, and which do; she knows how many copies of the news a certain apartment building will need before she goes in, and she knows where all the dogs are (and are not!).
As we walked, I took pictures of everything that delighted me. "I'm glad you came along, mom...but I didn't invite your friend!" Which apparantely meant my camera! We walked, and chatted and teased in the falling twilight; between you and me... it was lovely and I was glad I had had no excuses to stay home, locked up in my own world. Hers was so delightful!
"Take this paper and go do that mailbox," came her order.
"The one with the dog warning?"
"Yes, and count to ten because it takes him ten seconds to reach you once he's heard the gate click open, and you will want to be out so he can't take a bite out of you." She said this so matter-of-factly.
"How come I have to do all the houses with dogs and spiders?" came my reply, as she walked away ignoring me, smiling.
Click...a dash for the mailbox (the news wouldn't go in the slot at first...so panic, panic, panic...three, four, five... and oh please hurry... eight, nine, ten...woof woof...and a dash back to the gate .... saved!)
My teenage guru was waiting for me as I exited the premises, shaking with fear. No comment...but a look that said it all!
"Come on..." she said, "You're not finished yet."
What a wonderful walk that was. Darkness had settled over us by the time we got home, and I had learned something about courage, about endurance, about friendship, about the two-way street that is relationship. Plus... I can now embellish the story of my near death experience at the dinner table... and watch in glee as she rolls her eyes as only teenagers can do!