"Don't fall in the hot lava," he would say as he pushed me off of the curb on which I was trying to walk, tightrope style. Caught unawares I'd giggle or roll my eyes as I lost my balance and stepped into the grass. I would immediately hop back on, determined to maintain my post, and he'd repeat the process. I would strain and cling to his arm or try to hurry out of his reach, but I'd always end up falling into the "lava." Sometimes I'd try to push him into the lava, but he was always bigger and stronger and NEVER fell into the lava.
I thought this game fun as a child and then soooo uncool as I became a teenager. Around age 14 I'd sometimes find myself trying to keep my balance on something and my dad would be right there to push me into the hot lava. ARGH. I suppose this was annoying because by 14 I was pretty much a totally mature adult in my own mind. When he'd push me into the lava it was sort of like I was caught being a kid. What's worse is that I would immediately hop back on and try to do it again, only to find myself right back in the lava, smiling shamefully. Even now, with a baby in my arms he will still push me into the lava.
Recently I was at the park with the family. Cordelia and I were walking along a squared off log, keeping our balance, when I reached out and gently pushed her onto the gravel of the playground as I said, "Don't fall into the hot lava." She giggled and hopped back up, trying to keep her balance and once again I pushed her, more giggling.
Now before you think we are just a family of bullies I want to really challenge you to consider the lava to be a metaphor for life...just kidding. We're probably just a family of fun loving bullies and I hope the hot lava tradition carries onward into the shrouded mystery that is the future.
Don't fall in the hot lava Cordelia