Archives for September 2013

For Love and Helmets

When either of you ride your bikes, Mom and I insist that you wear your helmets. You also have other protective gear like gloves, knee and elbow pads, but the helmet is the only one we insist upon. More than once, it has proven a wise choice.

Periodically, when we are all out in the car or walking somewhere, one of you will see another person riding their bike and comment that “that person is not wearing their helmet.” I have given a somewhat silly response that “their parents must not love them as much as we love you.”

Many years ago, when I was a few years older than you are today, I remember being at the bike store with my mom for my very first two-wheeler. It was green, orange and yellow, had a big banana seat, and it was the coolest thing in the world to me. The salesman said to my Mom that we should look to get a helmet too. Mom didn’t want to spend any more money than we had to, but the salesman said that helmets are much cheaper than brain surgery. I remember Mom not missing a beat and replying “yes, that’s true, but brain surgery is covered by insurance.” She did get the helmet, though.

So anyway, Anna, when I made my remark about the non-helmeted cyclist, you said “No, I think their mommies do love them. They are just making bad choices. Big people don’t alway do what their mommies tell them to.”

True enough. And my life generally went better when I did. Chances are that yours will too. In the mean time, I love you, and you are going to wear your helmet when you ride your bike.

Goodbye to the A-Team

Since before Anna and Lucas could even crawl, we were blessed to meet two of the finest babysitters the world has ever known. Actually, we met Ashley & Andrea’s parents while taking our kids for a stroll and they told us that their twin girls were babysitters.

Almost every week for a few hours each weekend, they would let us run errands and give Kristen and I the chance to go out to dinner. We affectionately called Ashley & Andrea “The A-Team,” though the reference was probably lost on them.

They were 14 years old when they met our infants, and at 18 now, we got to watch them grow up as they watched the same in our kids. Today was the last day they will be with us before they head off to college. On a superficial level, they were “employees,” but on a deeper level, they were extended family that we actually saw more than our kin whose company we share only on holidays and special occasions.

The truth is that I love those two girls dearly, and I will miss them both very much. I also recognize that they, like our own children, are simply growing up. There’s the faintest reminder that we too are growing old in the process, but the larger pangs of sadness come from the recognition that one day, even our little babies will grow up, go to school, and move on with their own lives.

For goodness sakes, ours are still only four years old, but the A-Team’s departure is but a harbinger of what we will see with our own children one day, and so perhaps seeing that is what makes the A-team’s departure so disproportionately sad.

Without question, I wish them well, and I’ll miss them, but more what I miss (or appreciate) is the passing of years in our own children, and by implication, ourselves.