Monday, March 23, 2015

The tale of the bicycle saga

Get it?

Tale of a saga?

Anyhow, it's a tale of tragedy, betrayal, misfortune, and misdeeds, though none of the misdeeds were heroic. It's filled with guilt and love and money, and the strength of brotherly bonds. Well, not strength, exactly. And a mother's sorrow. It's based on a true story.

The night was dark, as they often are.
The children scattered and haphazard, as they often are.

The day was wonderful for spring and the boys were out on their bicycles all day long, riding and laughing and playing. Turbo was excited because he knew he was getting a speed bike come spring break (we have spring break late here) and Bear didn't care, because he didn't want one. He loved his bicycle. The green gobliny looking thing.

Nighttime came, and the boys locked up their bicycles, and came in.


One didn't.

One boy forgot one night.
The next morning, we were one bicycle less.

The one boy who forgot, looked at his lone bicycle, no longer leaning against his brother's.
His brother, who never. ever. ever. forgets to lock his bicycle.

There was rage.
I sighed.
I got in my truck and drove around the 'hood looking for the bicycle, knowing the outcome already, remembering the giggling punk-teenage boys I heard the night before, thinking nothing of it. Grumbling that a simple door-open would have sent them scurrying...


I said, let it be. It is a thing.
Bear said 'I know. I know.'  He was taking it far better than I expected, and wasn't quite sure what emotion to express. Mostly I think he didn't believe it. How could it be? What depraved minds would steal an 11-year old's bicycle? Ah, the sadness then, of having the safe world shattered.

I can't let a child suffer some one else's bad decision. I do believe that actions like that - stealing a bicycle or something that doesn't belong to you, taking what isn't yours, thinking it's a game, it marks you, it catches up to you at some point. I believe in a way they are lesser people (duh) devoid of the character traits that make people, well, people of strength or integrity or whatever.

Regardless, the bike is gone, someone stole it, and I said, well, this is a hard lesson to learn - but there really are people in the world who don't do the right thing. The bike is replaceable, and we'll replace it, but now, unfortunately, you understand why it's important to lock it up everywhere you go.

And then I bought him a bicycle.

I went to the bicycle store with my 11 year old and announced, while pointing to the youth bicycles, that this young man next to me (emphasizing the man, as he has longer hair than I do and may or may not have been wearing a pink shirt) needs a bicycle.

The bicycle guy looked him up and down. He looked at me. He looked at the bicycles I was pointint at.

"No. He needs an adult bicycle. How much you think he's going to grow this summer?"

What? He's 11. He's a boy. A youth. There are youth bicycles, right there.... cute ones.

But they were too small now, just like his bicycle was too small, so I had to get him a... a real bicycle. A bicycle that will last him through middle school and high school. His teenage-hood bicycle.

When we got home, and he hopped on that thing, riding it all around the neighborhood, the biggest kid on the tallest bike, he looked exactly like what he was. A boy on the verge of teendom.

I am currently feeling sad. I'm on the other edge of it now, the other side of babies and children. I'm on the short-path to empty nesting. I've got boys who this summer will shoot up, who will next year be in 6th grade, who may or may not have crushes, and who have opinions on hair and clothes and bicycles and oh so much more.


Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Pancakes for dinner, reaching for the hand

Who likes pancakes? We like pancakes. Who wants pancakes?
We want pancakes. When do we want pancakes? Dinner
is when we want pancakes!
We're still doing the 'Everyone Pick a Night and Cook.' Grilled ham and cheese on Tuesday (again - we're working on Turbo's recipe box) and tomorrow night is Butterfly Pasta courtesy Bear. Drama Girl is cooking us a lamb gyro on Sunday. Tonight, tonight was a pancake bar. More like pancakes and fruit and bacon bar, but still. It's always a nice treat on a weeknight to have a yummy breakfast for dinner. Who doesn't love pancakes? See Bear? See how ridiculously happy Bear is about his dinner?

Yesterday, I took Bear, to the dentist to have a cavity filled. It wasn't a big cavity, it was on a baby tooth, so it'll fall out soon anyhow, he's 11 after all, and he was a little nervous, but not overly anxious. This dentist is great, and knows the children in my family well enough to know he probably needs laughing gas and she had it set up for him straight away (why she knows that about my children is a long story that begins with Drama Girl - hint is in the name  - and well, Bear.)

While he was on laughing gas, he was kinda cute, kinda funny, nothing too crazy... he kept trying to talk the whole time. His tongue, he wasn't quite sure how it felt. Then he bit it, and wondered if that would hurt later. Felt his cheek was armor. Demonstrated an evil laugh. Nothing too crazy. But during part of it, he took his hand and waved it at me, this slow, childlike wave.

His 11-year old hand, with it's long, thin fingers. His skinny wrist leading to a hard, lean and lanky forearm. His fingers stretched out toward me and I wanted very much to scoot over and grab that hand. Except the dentist was in the way, and I don't think she would have appreciated being bowled over for a moment of sentiment.

See, Bear and Turbo, they aren't great hand-holders anymore. Not at all. Of all the things I miss the most in baby and toddler-hood, in preschool and kindergarten, is the chubby hand in mine. More than hugs which I sneak in the middle of the night, or super early when they are too tired to remember they don't hug much anymore.

I miss the clinging fingers grasping mine. I miss covering chubby hands in mine. I miss the reach for me, the joy when I grab their hand (mine, just as much theirs). I am glad I had those days. I cherished them.

Today, his hand is not chubby. I can no longer cover it with mine. His fingers are almost as tall as mine, as is he.

Don't even get me started on toes.

Too late.

Baby toes are cute. Soft and squishy and bizarrely cute.
Toddler toes are cute. Pudgy. Soft. Running on carpet. Running on dirt. Running on grass.
Preschooler toes are cute.
Kindergarten toes are even cute.

11 year old boy toes are not cute.
Bear's are long and thin, concerningly long and thin - toes should not form like that - and they are stinky.
Very stinky.

I have no desire to reach out for his toes anymore.

Just the hands.

In the truck, on the way home from the dentist, coming off the laughing gas, trying to make sense of his numbed mouth, wondering if he really did bite his tongue, he was unguarded, and I reached for his hand, and his hand reached for mine, like when he was five. and three. and one. and months old.

Long, thin fingers fell soft when in my hands. They didn't grasp and cling like they used to, but at 11, they really shouldn't, should they. Long, thin fingers, a thin wrist and a chatting boy, my boy, no longer the chubby toddler, reaching for my outstretched hand.

I was over the moon.