Moving on the Jumbee

I had a dilemma I think most single dads encounter at one time or the other: I was broke. No money in the bank, in-between checks and account hovering above negative I had to try to conduct regular day-to-day activities. I usually accomplish this by staying indoors but I also had two 10 year-olds to entertain.

Fortunately, New York [besides amazing food] has an absurd amount of free events so after an internet search in my neighborhood I found this. I made PBnJ sandwiches — and luckily had some box drinks in the fridge — before continuing on to our Saturday.

While we walked to the event; I asked them about school, 5th grade gossip and what Disney shows they liked to watch. The exercise and conversation buffered my only having 2 rides left on my metrocard to get us around. We arrived and sat in on the free show. Afterwards there was a stilt walking workshop given by Brooklyn Jumbies……we were the first to sign up (I actively encourage you to do weird and interesting things with your kids i.e. participate).

As the jumbie volunteer was helping strap the “little” stilts onto my feet and shins his partner leaned over and said, “Hey I love this. You with the kids its great. You doing a great job dad. Really nice.” What he said really struck me since he had only been around me for all of fifteen minutes. It made me feel as if I must of be doing something correctly…..

For anyone who has never tried stilts during the first few minutes you feel like you absolutely made the wrong decision, gravity becomes a quick enemy and you wonder how breaking a limb at your age might feel. The instructor told me to pick one knee up and put it down then pick the other knee up and put it down, then repeat the process. Complicated huh? And like training wheels I held onto his shoulder wondering if walking felt as awkward. He eventually told me to let one hand go, then said, “Ok watch what is going to happen now…”. He dipped his shoulder away from my other hand and I was moving as if I was born to walk with planks of wood strapped to my feet.

Then I started to wobble. My instructor told me, “You stopped moving….never stop moving, that’s when you get into trouble. Don’t worry if you feel like you going to fall. I got you. Even if you’re wobbling…..don’t stop. When you stop that’s when you fall”.

So I guess you can sense where I am going. That advice I got for walking on stilts is actually pretty applicable to fatherhood. As uncomfortable as it may feel at first — you may wobble — keep your legs MOVING. You will eventually walk. Trust in your support (i.e. make sure you aren’t trying to walk by yourself….that’s hard) and keep GOING.

The girls were encouraged to try once they saw me. After fifteen minutes we were all walking by ourselves. After the workshop I decided to take the girls to Brooklyn Bridge Park. No specific event [that I knew of] was going on but heading down there allowed another opportunity to talk and eat the rest of our sandwiches. When we sat on Pier 2 to watch the basketball games we happened upon Under Armour’s Elite 24 game…..the top 24 HS players in the country were having a free outdoor basketball game on a professional hardwood floor built by the water. #Winning

The total cost for the day?: 6 homemade Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches and 4 boxes of YooHoo.

Always be encouraged.

– A Single Dad

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