My second Fathers Day BB and Ryan gave me a seat for Ryan on the back of my bicycle. It took me about six hours to assemble it. Once finished, I had a bag full of screws and parts left over. I have no explanation for the extra parts. Let’s just say it’s been a year and half without a catastrophe. I think the extra parts were supposed to help create distance between the boys’ head and my heiny. Other kids, on these bike seats, have lots of viewing room. Ryan’s face bounces off my butt every time he sneezes. Flatulence is absolutely out of the question for me. Flatulence would be cruel and unusual. Flatulence is a fun word.
From the beginning Ryan was always a willing if not ecstatic participant in our bike rides together. I was extremely ecstatic! As we rode the streets you couldn’t wipe my smile off with sandpaper. People would stop in their tracks at the sight of us. I always felt that we were doing good work by bringing joy to peoples faces. Making the World a little happier in our own way. I became adept at reading lips as we passed folks by and they mouthed things like “So Cute!” “Adorable!” “The kids not bad either!” After about five miles I would stop at a park so that we could take a break and play on the swings and slides. Everything would be just peachy. That’s right I said “Peachy!”
Sometimes War is an inevitable evil. The early warning shots were fired when I would start to tell Ryan that we were getting back on the bike in five minutes. He would nonchalantly look over his shoulder at the bike and say “no”. Did I detect a pestilent sneer? 10 minutes later, (I don’t think he will ever truly understand time increments under my watch.) I would inform him that we had two more minutes before we mounted the bike for home. This time I heard the all too familiar subtext “silly Daddy.” in his more emphatic “No!” Twenty minutes later I screwed my courage to the sticking post and proclaimed that our five minutes were finally up. He would be ready for me of course.
His first attack was always retreat. He would run away from me. He would run as far as…well, not far at all really. He would run to the slide and suddenly pretend that nothing had changed. He would continue playing as if there were no unpleasant talk of leaving going on at all. Maybe, he wasn’t pretending. Maybe he would just forget that he was running from Daddy and figure he was running to the slide all along. A Daddy never knows. Whatever the case there was something in the purposeful way I was approaching him that would spur him to start running again. He would then go down the slide. Wouldn’t you? I would always give him at least one. The next move was choices. “Ryan you have two choices. You can either walk to the bike or Daddy can carry you.” Why that’s no choice at all, you say? Shh! This is my story.
The second time I was always too fast for him. I’d be waiting at the bottom as he slid into my welcoming arms. My heart was always in my mouth when he would bob his head frantically and straighten his back and clench his heiny cheeks to get away from me. I don’t know how I didn’t drop him. Then I would have to negotiate the various straps and belts, on the seat, as he straightened his body like a board. He would also scream the whole time. A scream that would split the ears. A scream that would go on and on. A scream that didn’t require a breath. It was scary. We would undo all the happiness that we had brought to the World earlier.
Worst of all, more often than I care to remember, I would accidentally pinch his chubby little skin in the clasp of the helmet. There is nothing worse than hearing those cries of pain that you had caused. Kiss kiss kiss. “I’m sorry Ryan.” Kiss kiss kiss “I’m so sorry!” I would ride us back home and feel the gray hair as it came in.
We’ve come a long way!