Celebrating the Red, White…and Black and Blue

iPhone--so you can capture all of those precious, heart-stopping memories.
iPhone–so you can capture all of those precious, heart-stopping memories.

For those of you who enjoyed the past holiday weekend…bite me. For anyone else who spent the day at an emergency med center making sure your child hadn’t broken or permanently damaged any part of his body, join me in a moment of reflection.

Can you remember before you had the awesome responsibility of parenting? Can you think back that far? (You could be a parent for all of thirty seconds, and still the crushing realization that you are now responsible for a life beyond your own will be smacking you in the face…hard…like Mike Tyson in the final round, testosterone-flared-nostrils-in-your-face hard.) Do you remember what that life before was like? Seriously, what was it like? Oh, wait, now I remember. It was freedom. That’s what it was. Glorious freedom. Those days are gone.

I don’t mean to sound bitter, but I can tell you, after this past Fourth of July, I’d really like to go back and celebrate what freedom used to mean. B.C.—Before Children—life was a dream. I didn’t know it, of course; I thought I was living a life of drudgery and low-paying jobs. I had no idea I was reveling in the greatest wealth the world can offer: freedom. I was reminded of that this weekend when I decided to take my son to a local parade in our new home town. And what better way to get there than riding our bikes?!

I had purchased a bike this past winter and stared at the blizzards fantasizing about biking around in the summer with my son. It was going to be a glorious, technicolor dream. There would be butterflies and rainbows. Even with my bionic enhancements, my physical limitations make it hard to keep up with him on foot, so I thought, “Hey, if we are both on bikes, then I can enjoy the experience and not worry about him getting away. After all, he’s strapped into it and it weighs about ninety pounds. What could happen?” Saturday, we get on our bikes and head toward the city park where we can watch the parade. Cautiously, we cross the scary, busy road near our house to cut cross the cemetery to hit the bike trail along the river.* It all sounds bucolic and delightful doesn’t it? Wait for it…

We’re tooling along, practicing passing people on the left and not mowing down little kids or elderly people who think I’m kidding when I yell: “Watch out. He can’t brake yet.”** Then we get to the section of the path that is becoming our bone of contention—the fork in the road that is the pain in my… ANYWAY, the kid is behind me and has stopped at the fork. A woman with a stroller is passing him and I call back, “No, Booger…we aren’t taking that route today. We can take it on the way ba…” I can’t even get to the end of the sentence before the berserker rage strikes. My son is peddling for all he’s worth–near missing the baby in the stroller–zipping in a mad dash past me and heading towards trouble. All I can do is watch; it isn’t pretty.

My son rides a very sturdy Ambucs Trike.*** This was a wonderful gift from an organization that helps families to buy special trikes for special tikes. (Sounds sickeningly cute, doesn’t it?) What’s more sickening is the experience of watching your agitated child pell-mell his way into an emergency med center visit. As expected, the “Hulk Smash” rage ended in disaster. Helpless, I watched as my son exceeded safety limits, causing the trike to wobble, and then come crashing down on top of him—face first into the asphalt. The good news is, road rash on all bendy parts, a smashed nose and lacerated lip (inside and out—made me want to puke when I saw it) aside, he is going to be fine. The not-so-good news is we spent the entire holiday sitting in waiting rooms just to determine that he hadn’t broken anything. By the end, all we wanted to do was crawl home and collapse. We didn’t bother with going to any Fourth of July celebrations that evening. As my mother-in-law said after we survived the harrowing experience, “We’ve had enough fireworks for one day.” It was unanimous; we spent the holiday huddling in our house avoiding any further excitement.

So, how do I celebrate freedom now? I cherish the moments that work and recover as quickly as possible from the ones that don’t. I will count surviving the day as a win. I will try very hard not to mourn a time when freedom was as easy as leaving my house and getting to my destination unscathed. And I will be buying knee and elbow pads for any future ventures that might lead us astray along our rocky path to freedom.

*

[Of note, the Bandaids should be coming off just in time for our camping trip to the U.P. later this week. I’m not worried,  inclement weather notwithstanding, what could possibly go wrong?]

He's smarter than your average human.  Courtesy of www.pacsafe.com
He’s smarter than your average human.( And yes, I realize this is a brown bear and that Michigan has black bears–deal with it.)
Courtesy of http://www.pacsafe.com

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnote:

*No, this is not foreshadowing. Foreshadowing would have involved an anger management seminar.

**Subtext: you are worth 50 points you old codger, so you’d better get out of the way.

***Sturdy and a bit clunky, these are the Cadillac of kids’ bikes. Solid steel construction—built to inflict the most damage in whatever they hit.

 

P.S. It wasn’t until after I  wrote this that I learned of the terrible bike accident at the Tour de France. I have the sincerest sympathies for the mothers of each and every one of those riders. I am very happy everyone walked away from that one.

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12 thoughts on “Celebrating the Red, White…and Black and Blue

  1. I am so sorry… That is quite a special feeling, isn’t it, knowing you won’t get there in time? Thank goodness he’s not hurt more seriously.

    I was so surprised that a modern trike could overtip forward! I have a post already written (not posted yet–and now, YOU’ve RUINED it!) about my Chicago childhood which includes my own racing-trike fall. Same deal. I had always understood trikes had their centers of balance redesigned since the bad old days to stop what happened to me. Hunh. Guess not. Guess the they who control every aspect of our anthill didn’t care enough about antkids who like going fast.
    😦

    Liked by 1 person

      1. With your son, it was awesome Hulk-like speed alone. With me, it was more Superman-wannabe-like, but aided by an uneven sidewalk. Betcha those theys didn’t take THOSE into consideration! Or HILLS!

        *** DID you!? Do you HEAR me!!?? ***

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Then you never want to meet a black fly. That’s their name, by the way. We aren’t terribly original up here. If they were accurately named they’d be called “The Black Fly of Interminable Suffering and Torment Which Precede the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse.” Of course, maybe they just shortened it to keep things simple.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Kiriziar. I hope you have a wonderful time in the UP, good weather, no accidents, and a calm time together, relaxing. I can also reassure you that for every “low” with your child, there will be a “high.” It is truly a roller coaster ride at times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, but it seems to be the rickety kind of roller coaster, you know what I’m talking about? The one that makes you wonder about health and safety standards, run by a person of dubious character and a tendency to wander off and take illicit smoke breaks while listening to the Grateful Dead loud enough to deafen passersby. (All the better to muffle the screams of the riders who want to get off.) It’s the kind of ride that requires you sign a waiver and should be called ‘The Roller Coaster of the Doomed.’ But maybe it’s just me.

      Liked by 1 person

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