It was a somewhat rainy weekend and busy father’s day. Although it was sort of ‘my day’ it seemed to have been trumped by my father’s thing (we took him out to lunch at a Japanese restaurant) and my wife’s birthday (which trumps any occasion any day). So how likely would it have been to play with my new toy (more on that later…)? Not very likely. But I still had a blast with my son’s new ride.
Toy r Us had a sale on kid bikes and jumped at the chance. He just turned 4 this May and has been pedaling a tricycle for most of the past two years. It’s a wonder how he maneuvers that thing everywhere- even climbs that thing to our surprise. So, he test rode a few at the toy store: a Diego, another no-name- a Huffy with caliper brakes… but he still came back to old Lightning McQueen- this 16’ wheeled cruiser with training wheels. Although the transition took a little getting used to as far as the height and pedal length, but it didn’t stop him.
I felt the same amount of pride assembling his bike I did when I put together his crib. It’s a Dad thing, knowing that you’re building something that your son will spend a good chunk of his life in as well as counting on the reliability of the structure. It took me no time to build (thankfully, or my wife would’ve paid 10 more bucks for their ‘assembly fee’) and he rode around the living room for a test run. Even though he had to jump off to turn it around (our house is not a mansion) he couldn’t stop. The bike has a little handlebar bag, so he transferred his water bottle and snacks from his school bag. And he repeated he was going to ride,”Just like daddy’s bike”.
On Sunday, father’s day, when the rain subsided for a few minutes, we took it out for a test run. I have to admit it scared me to death. Even though he was on training wheels, he was farther away from the ground and a heavy piece of steel was underneath him. I wanted him to get used to the coaster brakes, so I had him try it out again and again on the driveway, before he went into the street. We live in a cul-de-sac so there’s no traffic to speak of, which makes a great training ground for him. So he coasted down our driveway, pedaled a few feet and hit the decline. All was well until he was gaining speed downhill. Instead of hitting the brakes, he lifted his legs and feet off the pedals to GO FASTER. And although I was running, terrified of him wiping out, he was screaming in glee at this new-found speed. He finally learned how to stop, but he loves going fast down the driveway. I tried to put a word of caution and looking at cars (and he did finally wear his helmet, much to his dismay) but he couldn’t get over how fast he had gotten down the driveway. I guess that’s why we all love to ride. It’s that unnatural feeling of speed and how we try and try to attain it in everything.
It started to rain and I had to bring it in. He explained we needed to put it in the garage along with the other bikes, so “It won’t get wet, Daddy.” Earlier he had made a project at school and he took it out of his bag to show me. “Look Daddy, this is for you.” It’s a simple card that says,”Happy Father’s Day” on the cover, with his painted handprint, and inside,”I Love You”. Of course he didn’t write the words, one of his teachers had, with the requisite hearts replacing the ‘o’s in ‘Love’ and ‘You’. But I got to tell you, that’s the best gift I could ever ask for. It’s moments like these that make you feel like you don’t deserve such a gift and at once, you’re happy and maudlin because moments like these are so fleeting and fast.