Dylan has a lot of good ideas. And he likes to drive, too, so we’ve been letting him mow the grass – on a lawn tractor. It’s a win-win for everyone.

So this weekend, when he asked if he could give his brother a “hayride” by using the lawn tractor to pull Shane around on a little wagon-trailer-thing, I realized it had just been a matter of time. Bill had been pulling the kids around the yard since they were little, and now Dylan wanted to give it a try.

At first I vehemently said, “NO.” Bill wasn’t home at the time, and I didn’t think Dylan could even get the lawn tractor out of the garage without Bill. But he swore he could, and had no trouble doing so – as well as getting the wagon attached for Shane.

“Is it okay if I take this up on the road?” Dylan asked, as he was heading out.

“NO!” I said. “You need a real driver’s license to ride on the road, no matter what vehicle you choose.”

“Are you sure?” he asked.

“I am sure,” I said. I limited him to the yard – which is substantial enough to give a good hayride.

When I looked out the window, Shane was lounging comfortably in the wagon and Dylan was driving cautiously around the yard. It was so cute, I ran out to the car to get my camera.

As I got to the car, I saw Dylan on the driveway, stopped at the top of a cliff. We have a little creek on the other side of our driveway – about six or eight feet down a sharp-angled hill. Dylan had the tractor poised at the top of the hill, as if he were considering going over the edge.

Then, he went over the edge.

The tractor went down with one big clunk – about two feet down – and stopped. He’d ridden over a log.

The noise from the tractor was too loud for me to yell from where I was, but I yelled anyway. I screamed, “DYLAN, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”

Clunk! He went down another two feet.

He was actually considering taking that tractor down over the side of the hill with his brother in the wagon behind him.

At this point, I started running, screeching at the top of my lungs – wailing even – “STOP! DYLAN! STOP!”

He saw me coming and, common sense possibly returning, turned off the tractor. It hung halfway over the side of the hill, stopped by the two logs used by our neighbor as “steps” to go into that area. They certainly weren’t meant to stop a lawn tractor, but thank God, they did the job.

“I trusted you,” I said. “What on Earth would give you the idea that this was okay?”

“Shane looked bored,” he said. “I wanted to give him a more exciting ride, and I just wasn’t thinking.”

He wasn’t thinking. He is 13 and he just wasn’t thinking.

I left him alone to remove the tractor from the ditch – realizing only later that I could have left him to die under its weight. Someone happened by and helped him pull it out at about the time I realized what I’d done – and Dylan, remorseful, was grateful for the help.

I don’t think he’ll do it again.

And I thank God, sincerely, that no one was injured or died. This time.

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