training wheels

I learned to ride a moto today. It brought back vivid memories of the day I learned to ride a bike without my training wheels. I think I was a trooper and managed to stay on the bike without falling for a full minute. I never had that childhood moment where I fell and my dad ran after me telling me he’s so sorry he let go. We didn’t have that kind of relationship. It was always more real than that.

Actually, Dad and I went biking a lot when I was a kid. He’s always enjoyed the fresh air and beautiful outdoors. I remember when we would go for walks he would pick a leaf from a tree and smell it, then contemplate for some time about the smell and how invigorating it was. When we started doing hikes together, he’d pick up a stick along the path and try to use it as his walking stick. Every so often he’d find a better one and throw the last one down. At the end of the day he always brought back his chosen one and it would sit in the back of the car for days and days. When we got home we’d fall asleep in the sun chatting away in the heat of the leather seats in his favorite Saab.

Once when I was about 7, Dad and I went for a long bike ride to Ohlone College. We rode up Mission (which had tons of hills) and he and I enjoyed the sunny afternoon at the Ohlone fair. On the way back, it was a lot of downhill so Dad said I had to ride on the sidewalk while he rode on the bike path. I was extremely disheartened because all the big kids got to ride on the bike path and I knew I was good enough not to swerve into traffic. We fought about it until I finally gave in. On the way down one of the steeper hills, the sidewalk twisted and turned and I wasn’t able to brake hard enough. I skidded and fell on my side and my face was dragged down the path by my bike and my momentum. I cant remember much after that but a big red van picking us up and driving us home.

I had essentially lost a majority of the skin on the right side of my face. I remember Mom tenderly caring for me and putting gauze on me. I never truly appreciated how much our family valued the simple remedies. Dad felt terrible. I always know what Dad feels when he holds my hand or presses my leg. He and Grandma share that unwritten unspoken warmth in the touch of their hands.

I remember waking up the next morning and not being able to open my eyes from all the ointment and blood. I screamed, “MOM! I don’t wanna die!!” and she ran in laughing and saying, “Calm down moti billy. You are fine.”

I love that about our family. Everything will always be fine. We are insane and out of control and dramatic and fun and impulsive but at the end of the day, everything is gonna be fine.

A week later Dad and I rode to Lake Elizabeth.

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