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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bicycling Down Memory Lane

It really stinks when the overnight lows are hotter than I prefer my daytime highs to be. And while not an intentional pun, it works in its most literal sense. After all, sweat does stink. This is why I want to move to a northern section of Alaska and share a mountain lake with a moose.

Due to the hot weather these days, the kids are not getting their requisite amount of sunshine and outdoor play. Since Son is practically still bald and as fair skinned and blond as one can be, I also worry about the top of his head getting sunburned. Fortunately, he likes to wear a hat. I got the kids out in the morning yesterday to play, but the thermometer already read 91 degrees, so it was not much of a break. An hour and a half later we all stumbled back into the house, hot and sweat drenched, to plop in front of a video in the air conditioning with a popsicle. The thermometer eventually read 107 yesterday, but I think the actual temperature didn't rise above 103. As if that is good news.

Daughter is getting pretty good at her two-wheeled bike (plus training wheels). I can walk with her at a pretty good clip while she rides her bike as long as Son is satisfied racing her in the stroller. When he decides he has to walk too, the dynamic gets frustrating. Daughter wants a more reasonable speed and wants me to match that speed, while Son screams because he wants to dawdle along and examine every rock, bug, weed, and spot in the road. As I was helping Daughter with her bike the other day, I had flashbacks of the moment that I first rode my two-wheeled bike sans training wheels.

I don't remember much about having training wheels, but I know I did. I had a pink bike with a banana seat with multicolored flowers all over it. It was a Huffy. I don't know how old I was the day I first rode without the training wheels, but I remember clearly the moment it happened. I was riding around the circle driveway in front of my grandparents' farm house. The training wheels had come off that day, and Grandpa was running along behind me, holding my bike upright as I pedaled, and he was coaching me to go faster and then for a couple moments I didn't hear him, but I was sailing along on my bike enjoying the breeze blowing in my hair. When I finally looked back, there was Grandpa about 100 yards behind me, beaming and clapping for me. I was doing it all by myself! I'll never forget the pride in Grandpa's face and the bib overalls he wore that day, as he did everyday. I don't remember any other details about that particular day nearly 30 years ago, but that moment is etched in my mind forever. Grandpa went to Heaven over 6 years ago, and this memory is among my fondest of him.

It is with mixed emotions that I watch my own daughter enter into a phase of her life that one fateful day will culminate into the first time she rides a two-wheeled bicycle without training wheels. Regardless of who is running behind her on that day, I know that when she pushes forward all by herself, her Great Grandpa will be beaming and cheering her on, just as he did for me that day so long ago.

3 comments:

Dana said...

That was so very sweet!

Maternal Mirth said...

Did we ALL have Huffy's with banana seats or what?

Very cute post :)

M&M

Tracy said...

Your post was so heartwarming. It's funny that you talked about this in your post because I was telling the girls two days ago about my mom teaching me to ride my bike without the training wheels. It's a memory I hold near and dear.
I too had a Huffy bike. It was pink with long sparkly streamers that hung from the handle bars. The only thing about my bike was that it did not have a banana seat. It was a long thick seat,basically the fat version of the banana.
Thanks for sharing your story.