Thursday, June 6, 2013

Kids, Bikes and One Thing I Love About Living In The City

I am four years old.  I'm pedaling down the street on my pink and purple big wheel, singing my heart out.  I'm wearing a nightgown my Aunt made for me and the Cabbage Patch doll tucked firmly under my arm is dressed to match.  On my head is last year's Easter hat.  The breeze blows it nearly off my head and I stop briefly to clamp it down on my head before continuing on to my destination - the Parking Lot.


Bikes are the hottest thing right now, at least from my view.  My oldest told me excitedly over dinner last night that he wants to be a bike mechanic, after spending the day fixing up the multitude of bikes found in our garage.  Armed with a pump and some WD-40, he's been working on bikes all day - and when he's not working on them, he's riding them.  They all are.  My children have morphed into a mini-version of a motorcycle gang, peeling in and out of our driveway all day.  Jonah can hardly be coaxed off his, a used bike we bought him for his birthday (incidentally the best $25 I ever spent).  I actually begged him to play a video game yesterday so I could momentarily not worry about him riding off into the sunset, leaving us behind.  Fiona requested her training wheels be removed earlier in the day, and I took them off.  I tried to help her, but after one attempt at running alongside her, realized she didn't need me.  Not even a little bit.  She tore off down the sidewalk at breakneck speeds and didn't look back.

After dinner, they begged me to go ride at the parking lot - across the street from my parent's house, adjacent to one of their apartment buildings.  Watching them circle, shrieking and laughing, hollering at each other, bike wheels spinning - I was taken back.  I was that sweaty kid most nights in the summer - astride a big wheel as a toddler and then, quickly, a bike of my own.  Together with the neighbor kids, there would be nearly 20 of us, riding bikes and singing, playing "cops and robbers" or tag.  I remember the year they laid new blacktop and it was so smooth, riding on it felt like flying.  Not even noticing the exercise, just enjoying the cool of a summer evening, the wind in our hair, the camaraderie of friends.

Mom mentions it to me on our morning walk with Rosemary as we walk by house after house, commenting on the gardens, the paint colors, the different styles.  "Oh, this one would be perfect for you!  It's huge and look, right next door to a parking lot!"  I laugh and think wow, most people wouldn't be thinking of that as an asset when looking at real estate - but most people might not know that a parking lot can be a most excellent playground for little people.  It's the one thing country living can't hold a candle to - large swaths of smooth blacktop, perfect for riding.

I call them in for the night and one by one they come flying up the driveway, sweaty and filthy, with wild hair and shining eyes.  Summer kids, the very best kind.  Funny, the things you can find to be grateful for.  Today, so very grateful for the parking lots in my life - and the kids who love them.

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  1. Love it! My "big" girls spend a good portion of the day zooming around our huge paved shop - the only large section of pavement anywhere near our country home. My two year old climbs on the back of my three year old's trike and they fly around together that way. It is SO cute and makes me so thankful for our somewhat unsightly shop, which houses a basketball hoop and permanent 4-square court that someday we will use as well. Summer is truly the best, and summery children are even better. :)

  2. Oh yes, I have a "bike gang" here too. They ride the alley and the cul-de-sac and the sidewalk around the half block of their range. On Tuesdays the little guys and I walk to the Farmer's Market in our neighborhood while the big two ride ahead on their bikes. Useful too in a quiet neighborhood like ours. A few weeks ago I forgot to put some cash in my pocket before we left and just sent my six year old home on his bike to get my wallet! ...K


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