Friday, January 13, 2006

Something Old, Something New

Last week I decided I needed some fresh air, sans kids. I really needed it! I was a grumpy mom. So I put my 9 month old down for his morning nap, and set the two older kids up with some Fisher Price toys they hadn't seen in a while. My husband works from the home, so it's time I took advantage of it. I left him in charge of the peaceful situation, and got on my bike.

No big deal, right? Except that I haven't ridden a bike in 5 years. Even this isn't SO weird, except that for most of my life, the bike has been my sole mode of transportation. I didn't learn to drive a car until I was 29. I used my bike constantly - I did my grocery shopping, commuted to work, rode everywhere on my bike. The first strike against my trusty companion of years was a drivers license. Then I started graduate school, halfway through that, we started our family. My first summer of non-riding was when I was pregnant with my daughter. By the time she was born, the idea of sitting on a bike was less than appealing. Next spring, I promised myself. Next spring I'll start riding again.

And next thing I know, I have 3 kids, and haven't been on a bike in years! I was SO nervous, getting on my bike. Would I remember how to balance? Would I get hit by a car and leave my children motherless (not that many people ride bikes in the winter in Rockland, compared with Portland, Boston and San Francisco)? Would I get stuck on a hill, and have to (horrors) get off and push my bike?

But I did it, and have to say, it was the best bike ride I've had in ages. I felt like I was in my 20s again. Carefree. Sure, my bike was in awful shape - I couldn't get it out of a low gear, the back brake rubbed constantly, new rust spots are everywhere - but who cares. I didn't crash. A car drove past me and honked. The driver was waving frantically, giving me the thumbs up. My own personal cheering section.

I rode down Main Street, and made my destination the grocery store. I loaded up my bike, as in old times, and carefully rode home. This simple act snapped me out of my cranky mood, and make me realize that it's important to do me things, not just Mom things, from time to time. Maybe on a regular basis!