Aidan was being punished. This meant that he could not stay home with his older brother and hang out. He had to ride in the car with his mother and drop off his sister at the gym. He didn't take it very well. What angry child wants to be stuck in a vehicle with no one else but a mean old mom?
But as we meandered home after dropping off Bethie, his demeanor changed. Sometimes solitude isn't such a bad thing. He emerged from his self focus and began to converse quite pleasantly. He even suggested that we take a different route home.
“Mom? Can we take the road by the produce market?”
“Sure, honey." I smiled. I like that route, too. I wondered about his reason for choosing it. "Why do you like it so much?”
He wrinkled his brow and crinkled his nose. “It’s just so . . . lifey. You know," he nodded, "lots of life."
I knew exactly what he meant. Lake Road winds through beautiful evergreens alongside Lacamas Lake. It's green, it's growing and it's . . . well, it's lifey.
Aidan went on to explain why he doesn't care for the other route. "The freeway has too many cars, and you can’t see stuff. Like if a raccoon crossed the road, the cars would just have to hit it.”
Yes. Sometimes there are too many cars. You can't see stuff and you miss out on the life. Lots of life. Sure, the highly traveled roads might offer the quickest way home. But don't we prefer the towering greens, the glistening blues and the prospect of a non-squished raccoon in this life? I believe we do.
I think of Robert Frost's lines,
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
We pulled into our neighborhood, and Aidan piped up again, "Can you drop me off at the corner?" I was a little surprised and hesitant until I saw that he meant the corner that was only one house away from ours. I smiled at my lifey boy, thankful for our time together, thankful for a glimpse into his heart, thankful for the road he'd chosen. It made all the difference. "Yes!" I answered. Then with a grin I challenged, "I'll race ya!" And he ran all the way home.