From my vacation journal, originally written on 7/14/07.
First as a child, and later as an adolescent, I associated riding my bike with independence and freedom. On my bike, I could go fast and as the wind whipped my ponytail, I would let my imagination take flight. In the 7th grade, I would go for a solitary bike ride after I got home from school, riding up country roads into the copper hills behind my home and then making the long circle back home. I can still see that view in my mind, clear as the days more than 25 years ago when I would take those rides. 7th grade wasn't a happy year for me (is it happy for anyone?) and my long after-school bike rides were a way of reclaiming myself from my mean-spirited 7th grade peers. I would dream of a future where being smart would finally pay-off.
This has been a bike-riding summer for us. JT and I took a bike-ride on our tag-along bike most days that we were camping. Sometimes the rides were short, sometimes longer. Sometimes we'd talk with one another and sometimes I'd daydream while JT talked to himself. I'd hear fragments of his internal conversation and in his voice, I'd hear my past. He loves the bike for the same reasons that I did. It makes him happy to ride along. He feels fast and powerful, just as I did as a child (and still do now). It's lovely to be able to give him this gift and to know how much it will mean to him over the years.
One day while I rode with him behind me, I wondered if he will one day ride with his own little boy or little girl behind him. Will they talk about the feel of the wind against their face, the beauty and quiet of the shady spot on the trail, or the number of the bunnies they can count in the hedgerows? I hope so because it's a gift I can confidently hand over to future generations. I love that element of being a parent ------ giving my child the gift of an experience that will bring him happy memories that he can share with his own child some day.