Your Way

I like to hike in the calm and quiet of the forest, to hear the birds and the breeze, the crisp crunch of snow underfoot.

You like to hang on your dad, try to throw him off balance, giggle and laugh and throw snow up into the branches above.

I like to keep going and going, just over that ridge, just beyond that bend, just past that stand of trees.

You like to stop and trace pictures in the mud with a stick that you fling away when it no longer serves your purpose.

I like to lift my chin to let the light of the sun warm my face, taking pictures of the view, and insisting that you smile.

You like to make frowny faces because I have insisted that this hike, this one-with-nature moment-to-moment good time, be hiked my way. And my way has simply overcome the will you had for yours.

I watched it drain out of you little by little, starting from the moment I told you to wear boots not tennis shoes, and then insisted you stop splashing in the puddle at the parking lot. I know what is best for you, after all.

I also watched as the way I wanted to experience the mountain became your way of experiencing the mountain. And it simply didn’t work for you, so you didn’t. Experience it. Or enjoy it.

And, to be honest, neither did I after a while, so consumed with anxiety over why you weren’t having a good time, I sapped the good out of the entire time.

Until I saw it. Not my way, but yours. When were you laughing? When had you stopped?

I reached down and lifted a handful of snow up off the ground, balled it between two hands, and threw it, knowing better than to hit you square on; you were still caught in my bad mood. I threw it just to your right; it smashed into the snow and splashed before settling.

You marched on ahead.

I grabbed another. This one went over your head and landed squarely in your path.

You turned around, and in an instant, I knew you thought your dad was the one who’d done it.

I confessed. You picked up a handful, using the cuffs of your hoodie as gloves. Your eyebrows raised, you waited to see what I would do, waited to see exactly what had happened to my bad mood. A test, for both of us.

I picked up a little more snow and threw it just as you pulled back and launched yours.

We smiled and left my way behind.

Your way was best for both of us.

Today is the eighteenth day of the 12th annual Slice of Life Story Challenge (#SOLSC19) hosted by Two Writing Teachers.  I appreciate any comments, especially those that

  • reinforce writing decisions that work and
  • coach into those that don’t.

Think of each comment you leave as a little writing conference we are having together. Come on, make me a better writer today! Thank you!

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Book Dragon says:

    You provide the audience with a great hook by starting your slice with “I like . . .You like . . “

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Catherine Nash says:

    I like the mood shifts in this piece, from joy to something else, then back again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cheryl Reynolds says:

    Your format was interesting and something I may try in the future. I liked it. I think your daughter would also like it.
    Your hike looked amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. WOWilkinson says:

    Thanks for sharing. I really like the alternating you like… I like…structure at the start.
    I’m also with you on this part: “I like to keep going and going, just over that ridge, just beyond that bend, just past that stand of trees.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. hollymueller says:

    Oh wow – I love this – the juxtaposition between childhood and adulthood. It reminds me when my daughter was only a toddler, and she had no sense of destination when walking down our long driveway. She focused on everything but getting from point a to point b. I used to get frustrated with the slowness of it until I realized her way was best! I’m so glad you realized you needed to have some fun, live in the moment, and enjoy each other! I may borrow this format in the future!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this. Gave me something to think about when it comes to my students. My way isn’t always the best or only way… Thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. bbutler627 says:

    This is misleading at first, as I think you may have intended it to be. I kept being drawn over to the image and wondering who is speaking, thinking, and then realized it was all you but on so many levels at once. It’s like your “mood” in that in drew me along because I wanted to figure the story out and then when I got there, it was so light and lovely. I really appreciated it from a parent’s point of view. Never just one thing on our minds. Great slice and the blog looks better than ever!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This line resonated with me, especially because of the image beside it and your play on words with sap,”And, to be honest, neither did I after a while, so consumed with anxiety over why you weren’t having a good time, I sapped the good out of the entire time.”

    Liked by 1 person

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