The first day I brought the Jeep home, I asked Ian if he wanted to go for a ride with the doors off. He immediately burst into tears and ran to the safety of his room. As far as he was concerned, that monster was a 4" lifted carriage of Satan. My kid is a sensitive soul, much like his mother. There are a lot of things that make him nervous and upset these days. I get that. There's a lot of stuff out of his control. It's hard being six.
A few days later we were going to get dinner. I asked if he wanted to take the Element or the Jeep. He adamantly requested the Element. Fair enough.
Last night, I asked Ian if he wanted to get a milkshake from Sonic after dinner. He wanted the shake but didn't want to leave the house. I reminded him that I'm not a dessert delivery service, so if he wanted a milkshake, he was gonna have to come with me. That led to some consternation and a bit of a delicious stand off. Whatever, dude.
Around 8:30pm, I told Ian he needed to take a shower. I honestly can't remember the last time he had gotten clean by anything other than the backyard hose, so it was getting bad. He agreed but then said he had decided he would like to get a milkshake.
"It's probably too late now, though." "If you shower and manage to keep the milkshake out of your hair, I'm agreeable to that." "YAY!"
Fastest. Shower. Ever.
As we walked out into the muggy night air, I asked again casually, "Do you want to take the Jeep?"
"But ... I'll have to ride in the front!" "Yeah ..." "But! I've never ridden in the front before!" (internally debates risk of airbag on 82lb kid) "You'll be fine."
And with that he was sprinting towards the Jeep.
I had put the doors on for the 20 minutes of storms we had earlier that day. As I opened the driver door and took the top half of the door off, Ian blurted out, "Mommy! What are you doing?!"
"I'm taking the door tops off." "I'm already in the front and now you're gonna have me fall out?!" "Jesus, dude. You have a seatbelt."
He opened his door and climbed up in. I took the door tops off and set them in the driveway. Ian reminded me to not run over them as part of his safety protocols.
I put the Jeep in reverse to back out of the driveway and he started squealing with delight! I drove really slowly in front of the neighbors' houses just in case the kids were up and happened to look out the window to see Ian RIDING IN THE FRONT SEAT!
Most of the way to Sonic, Ian was content to hold his blankie (corner firmly pinched between thumb and index finger), rest his right arm on the door, suck his thumb, and stare out the window. His freshly washed hair tussled in the warm breeze and he looked content. I tried to take his picture because it made me so happy but it was too dark.
We took the back road so there were lots of stop signs. This was Ian's first experience with a stick shift as well, so there were lots of questions about clutches and gears and if my hand had to stay on the stick for it to run or if it was just a place to put it.
We parked at Sonic and Ian posed for a picture. It only marginally describes his level of stoked about sitting in the front seat.
As we drove home, he alternated between sipping his milkshake and hanging his head out the door like a labrador (because really there is no window but more a missing section of door). He said it was the best thing ever.
"Mommy, it feels like we're going so fast!" "Dude, we're going 35. But open air is like that." "Can you see the moon? It's so bright!" "I can't see it from my seat." "It's right here!" (points to a spot in the roof) "You know, we can take the top off of this too. So you could see the stars and everything."
If you were listening very closely at 9:10pm last night in our little corner of Ocean View, you would have heard Ian's mind explode.
Two weeks ago he was terrified of a car. As of last night, he's hooked on the front seat, topless life. Kids are like that. He may not get to drive for many aspects of his life. But that doesn't stop him from living in the moment, hanging his head out with the wind on his tongue.