One of Beau’s memories from growing up in the Deep South is of low ridin’. On days when (I suspect) his mom was at the end of her rope with him and his two younger siblings — three of them less than three years apart — she would load them into the back of the car, stop by the store for a pack of gum and a grape pop for each, and they would cruise the back roads of 1980s Alabama. They called it low ridin’.
I find this to be a successful parenting technique yet today. On days when I am out of ideas… when the baby is cranky, the 2-year-old sleepy, the 4-year-old desperately in need of something to do… we do our own kind of low ridin’. We load up in the side-by-side or the work pickup and drive down a two-track trail until we can’t drive anymore and then we get out and explore. Everyone gets a little fresh air and a fresh perspective. Often the two little ones get a nap, and if I present it just right, the big one feels like he’s doing some sort of job.
Incidentally, this job came complete with the side-by-side, a Polaris Ranger, and it’s what we never knew we always wanted. This ranch we work for isn’t exactly accustomed to fixing employees up with fancy rigs to drive around in. But by some twist of fate we’ve got one, and we are eternally thankful for it. In fact… I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to live without a side-by-side again. It’s that nice for low ridin’ in.