When you become a parent, the first thing you realize (or one of the first things, since everything comes at you in such quick succession) is that everything is relative. I've read this theme again and again in mommy blogs across the internet - no matter what your situation is, you have the right to think it's as great or sucky as you want to.
But really, I have to say, I have the WORST asphalt situation of any mommy in the world.
I grew up in a neighborhood of rentals. My parents divorced when I was in kindergarten and each could not afford a whole lot on their own. Still, I had everything I needed - food, clothes, heat - and more than I needed in many ways. But no matter what else we had - we had driveways and sidewalks in abundance.
My boys don't have that.
Just look, LOOK I say at the crappiness we call a driveway.
Can you see it? Seriously. The top layer of concrete is chipping away to become gravel. There are chunks of what I will loosely call blacktop at the bottom of the drive which are coming up as we continue to drive (of course) over them, creating a sunken pit that threatens to take out the undercarriage of any of the foreign luxury sedans of our friends when they come over (we barely notice, having traded our little sedan for a full-blown kick-ass mini-van, which sits high enough off the ground). And it's on a hill, a very slight one - but still hill-ish.
My boys have had hardships, yes. They have asthma and allergies. They have daily breathing treatments. J has an ear infection right now. But for a three-year old, nothing compares to the hardship of a crappy driveway.
And yet, I kind of think that they don't even notice the crappiness (this again goes back to everything being relative. Maybe a crappy driveway is what they think everyone else has too). N just barrels along, feet furiously peddling across the crunching loam, into the garage and whipping around to make another pass. J does the same but he's slightly more fussy about the return. When he gets to bottom edge of where they are allowed to ride, he turns, ready to go back up the incline. He peddles against the pseudo-pavement, big front wheel turning fruitlessly in that way that only big wheels do (ah, that sound takes me back). He throws his head back and gives a whine/yelp/sigh that only mommy can interpret: "Why do we live in this hellhole? It is too hard to be a child who has no smooth surface on which to ride. I demand that you push me back up the - what did you call this thing - driveway? Well, whatever it is, I demand that you perform for me."
Do I have to add that daddy refuses to push him back up? He insists that J learn how to do it on his own. But I have a soft heart. And I remember what it was like to have miles of smooth sidewalk and driveways on which to roller skate and bike - and I die a little inside. Sniff.