The Fat Kid In All Of Us

Yesterday I was supposed to do a 35 mile bike ride. The plan was perfect. I was going to hop on the bike as soon as I got home from Ann’s after spending a LOVELY couple of days with my grandson.

On the drive home I struggled to stay awake. The sun was beating down through the car window and the warmth of it had me fighting off the urge to pull over and nap. So when I got home, I decided to revise the plan and lay down for an hour. That was at 1pm.

I woke up at 4pm. Oopsie! So much for a 35 mile bike ride.

I opted for a quick ten miles instead, and I was OK with that change of plans. (See, I’m evolving.)

Almost halfway into my ride I passed a mother and son (assuming that’s what the relationship was), and they were walking on their bikes. I slowed down and asked if everything was OK. The mother practically hissed, “We’re fffffine!” I recognized the tone. I remembered it very clearly from when my kids were young and I wanted them to do something but they were being less than willing and not at all helpful. My heart went out to the mom.

The kid (to be quite blunt) was a fat kid. It was clear that he’d had quite enough of the bike and well more than enough of his mother’s prodding to just get on the bike and ride. I recognized the look of defeat on the kid’s face. I remembered it very clearly from after my botched surgery. The frustration of not being able to do something the way that other people (my perception) wanted me to.

Oof. A mother and son at odds with each other.

I could almost hear the conversation as they headed out on the trail.

“C’mon, honey, it’ll be fun! It’s a beautiful day for a bike ride. Let’s get out of the house and get some fresh air.”

And the son, unwilling to even try, but unable to say no to the momma.

And off they went. Each with their own expectations of how the ride was going to go.

I don’t know if that was the scenario at all, but it’s what my mind’s eye envisioned as I finished riding to my halfway point.

As I turned around to head back to the parking lot, the duo had made very little progress. I came upon the son first (4.21 miles away from the parking lot!!!!). Standing off to the side of his bike, reading the sign on the bench, “In memory of Governor Mel Carnahan.” It was a short sign. Shouldn’t have taken that long. But he was taking the time to have a breather from his bike while pretending to read the sign. The same look of defeat on his face as I’d seen earlier on the trail. I wanted to stop and give him a hug and say:

It’ll get easier.

I’ve been where you are.

You can do this.

You are capable.

You are strong.

About a 10th of a mile further the mother stood in the shade next to her bike looking back at him in frustration at his (what I would call) lolligagging. I wanted to stop and give her a hug and say:

It’ll get easier.

I’ve been where you are.

He’s at an awkward stage, but won’t always be.

You’re doing a great job.

You are strong.

Ah, the thoughts of the lone biker. So many feelings. I remember the frustrations as a young mother when I knew what was best for the kids and watching them arch their backs at my prodding. I also remember how hard it is to try and get back into shape after having fallen so far out of shape. I remember the tears and frustrations and the feeling that I just could not do it. The desire to give up was so strong.

I rode on. Wind in my face. Willing that kid to get on his bike and ride. Willing the mom to be patient with him. I dawdled at the parking lot wondering if I would see them arrive, but knowing that they still had a long road ahead of them. A long, and most likely painful road.

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