Last Thursday, Mason headed to Dike for his weekly golf round. C and I made a date to head up to the Farmer's Market, drop books off at the library, hit a park, and head home to eat supper on our deck. As we were leaving, I suggested taking the wagon but C was adament about riding his new bike. It's a trike, actually. No, strike that. It's a trike on 'roids, actually. The thing is huge. A hand-me-down from M's brother, it's like a 50 pound monster of a bike.
So of course, C is obsessed with it. And while I'm fine with him toodling around the driveway on it, I wasn't ready to carry back a bike that I couldn't even lift without breaking a sweat. I made the decision that he could ride the bike, but if he gets tired, I am not carrying it. I'll leave it behind before I try to carry it. So he agreed.
We reached the top of our hill before I heard the first, "I'm firsty! Dis is hard!". We made it to the Farmer's Market (about four blocks away) before I heard, "I'm tired!". Then, we dropped the books off at the library, listened to some live music under the band-stand, and pedaled over to the park (another three blocks away). We played at the park and "rested" his legs. It was a gorgeous night and I made a point of just hanging out with C, playing 'driving car', testing out every piece of equipment, and tasting his imaginary ice cream cones made out of wood chips. I tried to commit these memories to my brain, opting to leave my phone tucked away in my bag.
Because it was such a perfect evening, I was hesitant to hurry home and cook supper. Instead, I called Pizza Hut (yes, totally fell off the gluten free wagon) and ordered dine in, just so we could stay at the park longer. When C hopped on his bike, he immediately said, "My legs are rested. I feel better." But within a block, he was near tears, whining, "I'm firsty! I'm soooo firsty!" Pizza Hut was a good five blocks away from the park and I had zero water on me-- our only option was to pedal on.
He was being such a good little soldier, but it wasn't long before he cried out, "I can't do it Mommy!" For a moment, I wanted to scoop him up and carry him piggy-back while I somehow heaved the trike up on my shoulder. But it is my humble opinion that this is what's wrong with kids today-- constantly being rescued by their parents, never having to finish the job, rarely being forced to carry on. So rather than scooping him up, I said to him, "Honey, you can stop riding the trike. But I cannot carry it or push it for you. So, you'll either have get off and push it, or get off and leave it here. And if you leave it here, someone might come and take it and keep it for their own."
He looked up at me and pouted a little and then continued pedaling. And then, with sheer determination on his face, he pedaled harder than he had all night. But suddenly, as he was racing forward he looked up at me with tears in his eyes and said, "Mama, when you're riding your bike super far, does your bottom feel like it's all on fire?"
Without dying in fits of laughter right then and there, I managed to say that yes, indeed, my bottom feels like it's on fire when I ride my bike super far. Feel the burn and pedal on, little guy, pedal on.