Cate plays this game when we’re walking on the sidewalk. She extends her arms out like wings and skips, avoiding the cracks hopping from one foot to the other. She’s careful to never let her foot hit a fissure on the ground at her feet. She laughs, sometimes holding the hair off her face, never losing focus on the ground. So, as we set off for a walk together yesterday, she took to her regular skipping, eyes cast down for several blocks as we headed for the park.
When we arrived I had to tap her on the shoulder. “Cate, we’re at the park,” I said.
“What?!” she squealed with confused delight. “How the heck did we get here?”
We both laughed.
“Well, while you were spending all your time avoiding the cracks in the sidewalk, we made it all the way to the park!”
She tore off across the grass and jumped on a swing, going higher and higher pumping her legs and leaning forward and back a reckless smile stretched across her face. And she played for almost an hour before we turned back for home. As soon as she stepped from the grass to the concrete she cast her eyes down towards the ground ready for her routine for the walk home. I knelt in front of her and tilted her chin up so that her eyes met mine.
“Why don’t you stop worrying about the cracks this time. Just walk with me. I promise nothing bad will happen.”
She eyed me suspiciously but grabbed my hand eagerly and we walked back together, taking our time and just enjoying the view – butterflies fluttering in the trees by her school, birds circling above our heads, and the wind ruffling her hair. It took us twice as long to get home, we kept stopping and slowing our steps when something would catch our eye.
When we got back to the driveway she said, “That was fun, mom… I didn’t even SEE the cracks on the way home.”