September 09, 2010

Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop - 09/09/10

Time for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop. Go ahead, pick a prompt, write your best stuff, link up!

The prompt I chose this week: Define "freedom" (inspired by NaBloPoMo)

First, these very grownup impediments to freedom: Necessity, obligation, consequence, responsibility - how those concepts weigh us down. 

Or do they keep us grounded? Discuss amongst yourselves.

I can think of distinct ages in my life when freedom was a possibility:

Childhood, where you have some freedom to explore your neighborhood, unlike the kids of today - they'd never be able to run and play with other kids unless a play date was scheduled. Yet then again, your every move is monitored and measured against other children/the norm/the family rules/the school system. Not much freedom to be had there.

Adolescence, where freedom is so close you can taste its sweetness. When friends and boyfriends have more importance than family. In reality, you have LESS freedom, as you try to conform within your social group - and less freedom when your boyfriend wants to monopolize your time. Yet we welcome THEIR intrusion, all the while railing against the parental authority.

Adulthood, when you expect real freedom - and get college schedules and student loans and lousy jobs (while still in the throes of the influence of peers and paramours)...again, freedom is elusive.

Then, the biggest freedom sucker of all - parenthood. When your life is no longer your own. Anyone within earshot of a child knows that you don't have freedom of speech, unless you want your offspring "sharing" your speech with others!

Parenthood is when you become selfless and need and want to account for the well-being and happiness of your little cherubs - and your only free time is when you sneak off to the bathroom all by yourself. I've been in the parent stage for 34 years now, and I'm not done.

I suppose the next shot at freedom is the empty least, that's what I'm gonna continue to tell myself.

Anyway, I was free, now and again...
I'm ten years old. A beautiful sunny autumn day, enjoying the sensory banquet provided by the leaves that have fallen off the trees. I have no homework. My mom isn't home from work yet, so I am not being harangued into servitude for the family.

There stands my bicycle. A blue and white 24-inch Firestone with chrome bumpers. Basket on the front, great for lugging piano books and purchases from the convenience store. I even had a headlight/taillight combo, complete with a generator that worked on pedal power.

And I have no piano lesson or Girl Scout meeting or any other impediment to just being a kid.

Pedaling through my neighborhood, feeling the wind blow through my hair as I pass one friend's house, then another. No destination in mind. No timetable. No deadline. Just me, the bike and the road.

I hear my breathing, the sound of the tires on the pavement, and the fleeting sounds of families and dogs as I pass by. Cars pass me - I am a careful rider - I give drivers a wide berth (unless I want to practice skidding - then all bets are off). 

Some of the streets I rode on most often - Newport, Westland, Cambridge, Canterbury,  Ridgefield, Blackridge, St. Andrews, New Haven. I might stop at the Speed-E Mart for a Coke slush and a Reese's peanut butter cup (I think I could get both with about 30 cents in my pocket).

Ahh, freedom...

Until I saw my mom's car coming from the opposite direction, its grill smirking at me, telling me my freedom had come to an end...until next time.


  1. Love your post. Guess, we're never really free, or at least free for very long. You're writing is beautiful. Stopped in from Mama Kat's.

  2. I don't think even with an empty nest you'll be free! But hey if you are gonna dream, dream big right?

    And I have so many similar memories when my "freedom" ended the minute my mom got home!

  3. Ahhh!!! This is SO "On the MARK"!

    Not that I want to burst your "empty nest" hopeful bubble, but you may start over with grandchildren running all over the place. LOL!! Shhh... Don't think about it now... ;p ((HUGS))

  4. This was awesome! I could relate to so much! I remember being able to hop on my bike and just go!

    I'm also looking forward to the empty nesting stage.

    Thanks for sharing, and for bringing back some great memories!

  5. You captured the feelings of a teenager's "freedom" so accurately. The last few weeks for my oldest have been a tug-of-war between us as he struggles with these same emotions. Too bad he has such stupid parents, huh? LOL Drives me crazy.

  6. I love the description of the bike ride... beautiful... and it took me back. I also loved "its grill smirking at me..." Awesome post.

  7. Stopping by from Mama Kat's. You hit the nail on the head. Great post.

  8. Great post! Your description of freedom while riding your bike reminded me of my unforgettable moment of freedom.

    I was 19 and driving in my car alone for the first time since the birth of my son. I had a great song on the radio and was really enjoying myself, a little to much apparently.

    Before I knew it I was being pulled over by a cop and was a handed a speeding ticket!

    That was the end of my freedom that day! But there would be others.

    Thanks for sharing.

  9. Great post... freedome is wonderful, even if it is just for a day!

  10. It's so true... I was always so excited about being a "grown up" that could do whatever I wanted. Ha! :)

  11. So true. Freedom is fleeting and deceptive. Guess we should savor what little bits we do get.

  12. This was ridiculously depressing ... yet charmingly written. Oh ... to experience a few more moments of absolute freedom. What more can we ask in life?

  13. Sometimes it feels like fredom is an elusive thing. Just when you feel like you might get it something else steps up and takes its place.

    Love your little story.

  14. Great take on the prompt. I could feel the wind in my hair while reading this.

  15. A lovely, thought provoking post that I don't think many chose to tackle. I think the only real freedom I had so far is as a child during summer vacations. Ah, bliss!


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