Older & Wiser


When I was little and my cousin (hi, Susan!) came to visit for a few weeks every summer, she, my sister, and I were always burning up the road between our house and my grandparents’ house down the street. Back and forth we’d ride on our bikes all day long, depending on whose house had the best snacks or the most mischief to make or the fewest older brothers bossing us around.

Right before my grandparents’ house was an intersection where cars whizzed down the hill from the I-95 overpass.

I don’t know how my granddaddy knew when we weren’t following the rule about the intersection, but he always did.

Get off your bike and walk across that intersection, now, he’d say, as soon as we had banged through the door.


I didn’t understand that rule at the time. According to my own logic, if you wanted to avoid getting hit by a car, you’d skedaddle across that intersection as fast as you could, right?

Now I use a version of that rule with my children: we don’t run in parking lots. Bo especially has a hard time with this rule, because he wants to run just about everywhere except to bed.


But because I’m the one with a fully formed pre-frontal cortex, I now know that when you’re rushing, you’re not paying attention.


And when you’re not paying attention, there’s just no telling what you’ll miss.

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