Monday, September 04, 2006

The Little Things in Life

I think somewhere in my initial post I promised to not talk about a) how great and/or adorable my children are nor b) burden you with sad tales from my childhood. But. given today's events its hard not to break the promise.

Our oldest daughter learned to ride her bike without training wheels today (with a lot less falling than I would have ever thought possible). I realize for those of you without children the importance of the last sentence may seem like the equivalent of me saying 'today I waxed my car' but trust me this is a big step. And despite what you want to remember/believe, when you learned to ride a bike it was pretty damn hard to do.

My wife and I took both girls to the park across the street with the intention of givng our older daughter a shot at trying to ride on two wheels and see if the younger one would take to it as well ('before' picture above) . True to a 3 year olds form, the younger one tried it a few times and quickly decided she'd rather go dig in the dirt near the swingset. But our older daughter picked up the basics within about 10 minutes (with grainy cell phone camera video posted at to prove it!).

By now you understand how I've broken rule a) above (I mean, taking video of it and posting it to a blog is a little bit of overkill) but it was b) that really struck me unexpectedly while all this bike balance training was going on. When I saw her ride that bike I literally had a flashback to the day I learned to ride my bike. It was a red little bike with some seriously geeked out chrome fenders. The place was the street in front of my house, which in its paving was studded with stones and was nothing like the smooth basketball court surface we took my daughter to. The 'training crew' consisted of my sister and some of my friends and the training procedure essentially consisted of my sister pushing me as fast as possible then letting go, me riding half a block triumphantly and then ditching the bike in the street in a colossial flame out. Then I would pick up the bike and walk back to the starting line so my sister and my friends could relentlessly taunt me about the many, many different ways I'd discovered that day to wipe out on a bike. (Which is not unnatural because people in New Jersey, especially kids, will taunt you about almost anything, no matter how inappropriate). Eventually I got the hang of it, learned to turn around and then headed back toward the crowd at full speed hell bent on running some people down.

So what, you ask? Through this entire flashback it struck me that my parents never assisted in nor did they take any interest in this or several other milestones in my life. Sure, they got me the bike (hand-me-down) and my dad worked very long hours to make sure we were able to get such things. But my mom was a stay at home mom. Apparently the excitement I felt today wanting to help my daughter get over this hurdle wasn't in her parental code book back in 1974.

And now its managed to taint an otherwise great day with some additional bitterness dredged up about my youth that I had long since forgotten about.


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