Saturday, June 20, 2009

Me and You and A Bicycle Built For Two

So my dad came to visit a few months ago when spring was here and we got to visit for a bit. We were driving down the road one day and he saw a sign that had intrigued me before.

Tandem Bicycles For Rent

Mmmmmm. Two seater bikes. There are two of us. This could mean some quality father/daughter time.

"What do you think?" says he.

"Sounds lovely," says I.

And we were off. A few days later. More or less that's how I remember it. And more or less we were off.

We called and we went and picked up the bike. And helmets. (Always wear a helmet if you are me. Or if you are related to me.)

These are the things I learned about tandem biking.

First, turns out tandem stands for IN tandem. Meaning you gotta work together, people. As in, AT THE SAME TIME. This is trickier than it sounds if you are me (or are related to me.) And as both of us on the bike fell into one of those categories...well, you get the picture.

Second, make sure that your boss will be in the office and not planning a venture to the outside world. We were spotted as we crossed the street...before my dad realized that I was not actually yet seated and ready to push and started to leave without me. This is all I really wish to say on this particular subject.

Third, there are certain things that are required of tandem cyclers. You will discover most of these on your own and I won't take that experience away from you but I will let you in on the biggie, no charge. It is this...


The person in the back had better trust the one in the front. Because you just can't see a thing that's coming at you if you're back there. The side view is just fine and it is really relaxing and peaceful. The poor guy up front is the one with all the responsibility. He's gotta watch out for all the bumps and potholes. Oncoming traffic. Unexpected birds and critters darting at you. He's gotta watch out for the both of you.

And guess what? We NAILED that one, people. Because we've been practicing that one for the past fortysomeodd years. My dad has been watching out for me, helping me dodge potholes, oncoming disasters, and a variety of unforeseen obstacles that have come seemingly out of nowhere. He's really good at it. That's why I trust him. Implicitly.

After we turned the bike in, we walked back to the car. I said, "That was wonderful. Thanks so much, Daddy. But next time, I'll be in front so you can enjoy the ride."

I'm not sure but I think I heard him mutter, "That should be relaxing," as he closed the door.

We'll work on it.

(Happy Father's Day, Daddy.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


A little over 15 years ago I discovered I was going to have a girl. After two boys I had really been hoping for a baby girl and, lo and behold, I was about to get my wish.

The first thing I did was to shop, of course! (This actually started a precedent for this particular child that I have grown to regret in recent years. But I digress...) I bought a beautiful green velvet dress and ruffled socks and brought them home and hung them in the closet.

And then I panicked.

I was going to have a GIRL! I didn't know how to be the mother of a girl! Girls are different than boys! I only knew little boy games and they didn't like trucks or dinosaurs and...oh, yeah...I was a girl. It was going to be all right.

And then she was born with hair thicker than mine and an inch long all over. The nurses couldn't get enough of her. I don't think we went out in public for over a year without being stopped by someone. I hadn't just given birth to a girl...I'd given birth to a beautiful girl.

And she still is. But she is so much more than that. You see, that was the really tricky part. How to let her know that yes, she was beautiful but her Father in Heaven wanted the inside to match. I worried over this (as I do about most things.) I worried in particular because as she grew, it became apparent that not only did we not look particularly alike but our personalities are quite different too and I could never quite figure her out.

And then a few years ago something lovely happened, (as it usually does if you just wait patiently enough.) Summer began and I decided to take up walking and Petunia, to encourage me, said she'd go with me. And we began talking. And guess what? Turns out we're not so different after all. And all the things I worried about? Not a problem...Heavenly Father blessed her inside and out. She is intelligent, kind, compassionate and passionate about the things that she believes in, and this one believes, I'm here to tell you. She is rock solid, people.

In truth, I'm unbelievably honored that a loving Father trusted us with a daughter so lovely. I thank Him every day.

And then, I hug her tight.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Today is Buo's birthday. He is seventeen today. I can hardly believe it. In fact, I can hardly believe it whenever one of my children has a birthday. And they all have summer birthdays.


It appears I will spend much of the next few months in a state of disbelief.

When Buo was little he was my wild child. Wedged in between two fairly (read completely) laid back individuals, he was the live wire of the group and, truthfully, there were moments that I was unsure just what to do with him. If the other two were middle of the road, Buo never even touched the pavement. He was a child of extremes; extremely happy or extremely...not.

Thankfully, he was mostly happy. And thankfully, he has stayed that way.

This might sound like bragging but I can't claim credit for any of it. He came this way. I have learned more from him than I can possibly sum up in a few inadequate adjectives and paragraphs. But this is some of it.

I have learned (or relearned, because I knew this once upon a time) to really focus on the good in people. Not because I have had to do that with him but because he does that with everyone he meets. We don't walk away from meeting up with someone (insurance salesman, cashier, man-on-the-street) without him saying something like, "She had a beautiful smile" or "He was the happiest bag boy I ever met". We just don't. Ever.

I have learned that, when someone is upset, angry, emotional, sometimes they need a little space and a few moments to themselves. Without their mother in their face. Talking incessantly.

I have learned to laugh. A lesson I have learned from all of my children actually, but Buo can diffuse almost any situation unlike anyone I have ever seen. With sheer audacity and wit. And his siblings are picking it up. And I love it.

I am learning still from him, to love without holding anything back. He doesn't carefully hold a place reserved to protect himself. And he is rewarded for it by receiving that kind of love back.

I have learned to love life because he loves life. Every single second. And he makes everyone around him feel that way about life too.

I am in awe of the human being he has become. He is so much finer than I could ever have imagined when I held him in my arms for the first time seventeen years ago.

Happy birthday, son.