A cautionary tale: Look before they leap

Poor Bud — and Brianna — learned a painful lesson the hard way not too long ago. A lesson in something I never really considered, as a parent or as a grandparent.

See, on a recent sunny day, Bud and Brianna headed to the local skatepark. Bud, a budding skateboarder, was excited to spend a couple hours trying out a park he'd not yet frequented. (Truth be told, I think he had frequented very few skate parks — if any — since his passion for boarding began.)

I had babysat Bud that morning, and he mentioned several times the fun he looked forward to that afternoon.

To say the kid was pumped is an understatement.

After lunch that day, Brianna and Bud headed to the skate park. As soon as they arrived, Bud could contain himself no longer. He quickly donned his helmet, grabbed his board, and raced to his first obstacle: an awesome, amazing, yet seemingly (relatively) safe jump.

It looked like this:

skatepark obstacle 

Bud figured he'd go up the angled ramp on the front side and down the angled ramp on the back side with ease.

Only, Bud learned too late there was no angled ramp on the opposite side. Looks were deceiving on first glance, and this is what the other side looked like:

skatepark obstacle 

And this is what Bud looked like after toppling face first onto the hard-as-concrete ground below upon unexpectedly dropping off the edge at high speed:

skateboard injury 

Thank heavens Bud had on a helmet! And thank heavens he had no broken teeth, no broken nose, no need for stitches. No tears, either, which I find pretty darn impressive for an 8 year old (9 the end of this month). The sign of a brave boarder-to-be.

Still, what a way to ruin the highly anticipated day, shutting it down before it fully starts.

Bud's face bruised and hurt for a few days. It was mostly his pride that took a beating though.

Meanwhile, Brianna beat up herself. Without reason. As we parents and grandparents know, <cuss> happens — even under our most preemptive protective efforts.

Now, I am one of the most overprotective parents — and grandparents — around. When visiting parks of any sort, I always have and always will scan the space for stranger danger or other sketchy sorts of folks kids in tow should steer clear of, whom I should remain aware of.

But checking out each and every amenity and activity in the play area never occured to me once kids in my care were able to swing and slide on their own.

After seeing poor Bud's bloody face, though — and imagining how devastating the damage could have been — you can bet that if a situation ever arises going forward that I'm in charge of newbie shredders, I'll certainly be scanning skatepark surroundings like a Secret Service agent, searching for dangerously deceptive obstacles that might damage my dear ones.

Bud — and Brianna — undoubtedly will now, too. As should grandmothers and others treating budding boarders to practice time in the park.

Lesson learned for all of us, thanks to bungled up but brave Bud. Bud who has all intentions of mastering the offending obstacle — and others — in the future. Looking before leaping, of course.