Saturday, October 08, 2005

Parental pride

I'm proud of my kids. Every parent should be. We all have hopes of how they should grow, things they should do, and how their lives will turn out. Those hopes are seldom realized because things are always different from what we expect.

Both raced BMX. I hoped they'd love cycling as I do. But they change as they grow, and they change in ways we never imagine.

Jordan loves football. In order to play, he keeps his grades up and I'm very proud of that. It’s a complete reversal from previous years. This time last year we were trying everything we could to get him to do his work. Nothing seemed to help. He just didn’t care. But football is a big, important part of his life. The coaches said he has to maintain his grades even in the off-season if he wants to play next year. He’s buckled down and he’s taking it very seriously now.

He had a game Monday and didn’t get home until late. But he was worried about a math assignment that had to be finished by morning. He beavered away at it for quite a while, staying up after I’d gone to bed. There was a time not too long ago that he would have shirked the assignment and not cared about the results. Not anymore.

Can you tell I’m impressed?

Lyndsay, on the other hand, is all girl. Her current favorite sport is shopping. But she loved playing basketball once upon a time, and that fire still hits her now and then. Mostly, she loves to show up some boys, catching them flat-footed and surprised at being bested by a mere ‘girl’. She has a desire to excel, and she has the will to do her best. She doesn’t mind working hard. The kid pushes herself.

She has a distance runner’s physique, long, thin arms and legs, and when she runs it looks effortless. But she wants to be stronger, so she signed up for weight training this year. Her class is a bunch of football players, wrestlers, and a couple of girls. The first day, the coach asked if she was in the right room! The girl is spindly, but the weight training is making her much stronger.

But they’re not cyclists. That could still change. Lyndsay will be in college next year and she already knows that parking is difficult on campus. Traveling by bicycle is much easier. She has her eye on one of the Raleigh Tourists out in the garage. It’s a woman’s frame but she’s never ridden it. I need to get the rims re-chromed before it will be rideable. In its day the Tourist was a nice utility bike, an ”All Steel” three-speed with fenders, but it’s almost sinfully heavy at 40 pounds or so.

Jordan has two bikes out there, a BMX bike with a flat tire, and a Nishiki road bike with two flat tires. After doing many, many tires and tubes, I finally showed him how to repair a flat and told him that the next one he’d have to fix by himself. Well, the bikes got flats, and they’ve been sitting in the garage most of the summer. Jordan walks everywhere. He won’t repair the bikes, and neither will I. In fact, he’s out-grown the Nishiki, so it’ll probably be sold soon.

Still, there’s hope the kids will re-discover cycling, if only as a means of utility transportation. Lyndsay’s been driving for almost 2 years, and Jordan will be old enough to get a learner’s permit in another 5 months. At that age, I didn’t want to ride a bicycle, either. I wanted those car keys in hand.

But I can still hope my kids will become cyclists someday.


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