Written By: Kathy Glow
The other morning, the boys and I set out to take a family bike ride together. The boys were riding their bikes, and I had the baby in the jogging stroller. I was anxious to exercise and bond a bit as a family.
We used to go for family bike rides and walks quite frequently, up until the spring when Joey was gravely ill. And then we stopped. Last spring and summer, my pregnancy left me so swollen and miserable I could barely waddle around the house, much less walk around the neighborhood with my family.
It has been such a lovely spring that we have been setting out again, walking around the neighborhood or down to the park. I have been drinking this time in, looking forward to longer walks as the summer days lengthen to their fullness.
Here’s where this post takes a different turn than what I had originally planned. You see, I was going to praise all the small memories of summer time over all of the elaborate summer vacations that we’ve taken.
I was going to write about how our family walks and bike rides will be among my favorite memories of my children’s childhood. You know, the simple things and blah, blah, blah.
That was before this particular bike ride.
You see, on the bike ride, I had one little boy who complained about bugs and bees the whole time (even though there were none) and wouldn’t leave my side. If I got even an inch ahead of him, he freaked out. In fact, I couldn’t really run alongside the other boys because I kept tripping over Bug Boy.
I had another boy who kept riding way ahead of us, rounding corners, hidden by trees and bushes, which scared me since I couldn’t see him. It upset his little brother, too, who just desperately wanted to keep up with the big boys. So he screamed and yelled most of the time for his brother to “wait up!” and “I want to be in front!”
Since he was trying to keep up with his brother, boy number three pooped out and sat down in the middle of the trail next to a busy street. Well, fell is more like it; and when his knee started bleeding, he stood there and cried, refusing to move.
And slowly, I began to feel my blood boil, not from physical exertion, but from exasperation. Why can’t we just have a pleasant bike ride together? I kept thinking. I felt my perfect “la-di-da” post slipping away from me by the second.
The light at the intersection turned green, and I told the older boys it was time to cross even if we had to do it without our bleeder (not that I would, but I was angry at this point). This prompted more screaming, and by this time, I was ready to take off for home and leave the boys to fend for themselves.
And that’s actually what they did.
Jack went back and picked up Colin’s bike, and Adam grabbed a Kleenex from the stroller and dabbed Colin’s knee with it. My heart both swelled with pride at the display of brotherly love and shame at my own impatience.
The rest of the way back home, despite the fact that everyone was tired and thirsty, they walked their bikes together and talked, trading bikes and giving each other helping pushes.
And I thought, This. This is my favorite memory. This will be what I think of from my sons’ childhood. Not the times they fought and teased each other, but the times they helped and loved one another.
This is my la-di-da post. This display of brotherly love and bonding, if only for a brief time, this display that taught me to remember that they are children, and they need someone to protect them from bees and slow down to their pace and kiss their boo-boos.
They need someone to let them be kids that get scared and throw tantrums and get tired.
This is a beautiful, fleeting time when they are little. We rush them to grow up, to be independent, to not need our help or protection.
When I look back on times when they were younger or I cuddle Baby Evan, I realize how much I love this time of need, of them needing me. And I think about how quickly time flies, and how nice it is to be needed right now.
The boys reminded me that day that they like to be needed as well, and are learning to not only care for themselves, but each other, as well.
I will have to write my “la-di-da-best-summer-memories” post later in the summer.
And maybe I will have to have the boys help me with that, too.