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Crams and Big Gold Bikes

Friday, July 07, 2006
written by Java Junkie

This morning I awoke from the first good dream I've had in a long time. I was at peace and happy and excited in the dream and that's how I felt when I woke up. It's been a long, long time since I had a sip of coffee feeling this way. It was nice.

The dream really wasn't anything exciting, well to anyone who's not a mom I guess. Parker and I were walking hand in hand on a beach somewhere, off in the distance was Lou, Monkey and my CC. Parker and I were picking up muscle shells. **Parker still isn't talking much at all but I'm highly encouraged by his increasing verbal mimicry. My CC said that she thinks he's right on the verge of having a very large vocabulary, which is probably why she was in this dream.** Knowing that it's probably easier for a baby to say "Clams" than it is "Muscles" I start to hand him a shell and I say "Clllaaammm. Can you say Clllaamm?" and he does! In my excitement I see him trying to reach another and I say "I'll get that for you if you can say clam!" and he says "Cram!" I snatch up the clam and hug him tight, then start steering him down the shoreline toward the rest of my family in my excitement, the cool water a soft gentle tide keeping my toes wet and refreshed. On our way I'm chatting back and forth to Parker, and he's picking up more words along the way, although I can't really remember the conversation. When we get to my family I say "Guys! Guess what!?!?" and just before I tell them the good news, Parker blurts out "We were pretending to pick up crams but they were really muskles."

Even just recalling the dream here makes my heart swim with joy and has brought a soft smile to my face. It feels good to smile.

Going to my mother's house this last weekend was something I think I needed to do. And although I'm still left with feelings of regret, loss, and sadness at least now I have been reminded of some of the good times of my childhood that I had either long forgotten or had simply let the anger and pain of the last few years overshadow. Although many times I stood by my mother's side, trying to do anything and everything possible to help her quit drinking, there's always been this void of good memories inside. Until this trip.

One of my fondest childhood memories was brought back to me in a flash flood of emotions. It wasn't triggered by a photo, or a scent, or a knickknack. It was triggered by my nephew, Ryan. I was holding my niece, trying to comfort her out of a little fuss, singing "If I were a cloud" - a song I sing to Parker all the time and my sister-in-law thinks I should record so you all can hear. - But I digress. After I'm done, Ryan says "How about this song?" and started singing Bicycle Built for Two. Instantly memories of riding on the fender of my mother's huge gold bike washed over me.

Growing up I didn't have a bike until I was 8, I think. So when my mother wanted to go for a "family" bicycle ride my Tover would ride his bike, my mother would ride her huge gold bike from the 1960's and I would ride on the back fender, one foot in each of the wire baskets than hung to the sides. We would sing Bicycle Built For Two and other "old time" songs.

There was something magical about it all. The gentle swaying of the bike as I held onto my mother's waist, "swimming" my hand along the breeze, the intricate lace of shadows the trees cast with their leaves. And most importantly the strong bond I felt with my mother during those bike rides. With my brother at times a half a block ahead, it was one of the few times that I felt I had my mother all to myself... And she didn't mind. I even loved that my Tover was there, just enough ahead to be part of it but not impede on the intimacy I felt between my mother and I right then. Sometimes we would just ride around the mile long "block" that was the complex that our townhouse was a part of, sometimes down to the corner store "QD" for a scoop of ice cream and sometimes through the neighborhoods that surrounded where I grew up. I loved all three routes, but for very different reasons.

Riding around the complex allowed for the opportunity of any one of my friends to see me on the back of my beautiful mother's beautiful big gold bike. I tried for like 45 minutes to find a picture online, but I don't remember the make, model or year. I did find this picture of a teal one that looks very similar, but without the baskets:

(Blogger's being a PITA and won't let me upload the image. I'll try to edit this later with the image, sorry folks.)

But to me, back then, it couldn't have been any more grand and magnificent if it had been Wonder Woman's invisible plane, and in fact many times while on the back I imagined it was just that.

The Ride to "QD" or Quality Dairy was filled with anticipation and decision. What flavors would they have today? Which would I get? Had I been good enough to warrant two scoops instead of just one? And then there was Miller Road. I think the speed limit there is 35 miles an hour but it might as well have been the Autobahn and the excitement and trepidation of crossing it NOT at a light was almost more than a little 8 year old's heart could handle... But not quite *smile*. The ride back was full of dripping ice cream cones and sticky hands and ice cream mustaches from cruising over a bump that bounced my bottom and my hand in opposite directions at the precise moment of a lick.

Riding through the surrounding neighborhoods was the earliest version of people watching that I can remember. We'd ride through the neighborhoods with big trees and manicured lawns and humble ranch homes. We'd see husbands and dads mowing their lawns or washing their cars, kids on their own bikes with tassels off the hand grips, mothers walking little yippy dogs and once in awhile a hip grandma with a sun hat weeding the flowerbed next to her driveway. Life seemed so much cleaner in these neighborhoods. Even the sunshine somehow seemed to sparkle more. I don't ever remember wanting to live in those neighborhoods or being jealous of the kids that got to grow up in what seemed to me to be a suburban Utopia at the time. Just being there and feeling happy and at peace for the families that were there was good enough for me.

And all along we would sing Come Play With Us, Tie a Yellow Ribbon, and Bicycle Built for Two.

I miss you momma. I remember.
10:36 AM ::
  • When I think of how I feel when I'm with my children and how I want them to remember our time together, I couldn't have ever put it better than this sentence:

    "Even the sunshine somehow seemed to sparkle more."

    What a wonderful story.

    By Blogger TaterTot, at 1:53 PM  
  • This was beautiful. I could hear you seeing it in your mind's eye, you caught it so well. I'm glad you have some good stuff to hold onto right now.

    By Blogger kittenpie, at 4:36 PM  
  • What a beautiful post, Sissy. I know the neighborhoods you're describing and I could see them as I was reading. And that last line, that one put a lump in my throat. I'm so glad you have those good memories to hang on to. Love ya.

    By Anonymous Elizabeth, at 7:05 PM  
  • I'm so glad you're writing. Keep writing, it helps. And keep remembering the good times.

    By Anonymous mamatulip, at 8:43 AM  
  • Thank you for this. I've been struggling with how to find and hold on to my own happy memories with my own mother as a child. Thank you in a way I can't explain. Love you sis.

    By Blogger nmariluna, at 8:36 AM  
  • Plus the dream... beautiful. Gave me a big smile!

    By Blogger nmariluna, at 8:47 AM  
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