When a Bike Ride is More than a Bike Ride
It's been a while since I've ridden my bike, and even longer since I've gone for a bike ride in Tulsa's Riverparks along Rverside Drive. This year, I have been choosing to be more intentional about taking care of myself and making time for the things that really matter, like moments with my children. It's so easy to get caught up with work and bills and the needs of life that we can find ourselves not really living at all.
Sometimes, even when I'm spending time with my kids, I'm not truly present in my heart and mind. Instead I'm counting down the minutes, trying to be a "good mom" by being with my kids, when I'm really thinking about the work I'm putting aside and the housework that is waiting for me.
Well, I'm tired of that, and I'm convinced my kids know the difference between engaged and disengaged Mommy. So, I'm choosing to really enjoy the time I spend with them and pay attention to the surroundings. This past weekend, I actually spent the weekend doing weekend things. I'm quite proud of myself for getting all work necessities done by Friday afternoon. This is a challenge when you're self-employed - it's waaaaayyyyy too easy to see all time as work time, when you really need to take breaks and make time for family and relationships.
So, by the time Sunday rolled around, I was still in weekend mode and had all day wide open, with no responsibilities in sight. Alec, my 8 year old had been asking me to ride bikes with him for a while, and I have put it off for several reasons (excuses really), one of which was that I had a flat tire and our pump was broken. I finally decided to load up our bikes and drive to Trek Store of Tulsa on Riverside to get it fixed and then we parked in the Riverparks parking lot at 96th and Riverside to start our ride!
It was a beautiful day - sunny and warm but not too hot. We rode all the way to the park between 81st and 71st and Riverside and stopped to play for a little while. The splash pad was up and running and Alec wanted to get wet, so I said okay! What a great way to cool off and make the ride back even better. We both took off our shoes and played in the water. I tried twice to get a pic with his eyes open, but the sun wasn't cooperating.
"Mom! Take a picture!" You got it, kid.
And this next one is the moment I had to capture. Just before I snapped this picture, Alec pulled up next to me on our ride and asked, "Can we do this every weekend? Because riding bikes like this is exactly what I've been wanting to do." I choked back tears. Yes, honey, yes of course we will do this again and again.
My sweet boy may never know what he did for my heart in that moment with those words. As our kids get older, they honestly are more happy playing video games with each other or walking to the dollar store and Sonic to spend their money than they are doing activities with us like we used to. We used to go to the Zoo, or museum, or library every weekend, but they aren't as interested in those things.
Maybe a good bit of that is on us for not being intentional about our time, or restricting their screen time a little, but sometimes you just gotta choose your battles, you know? Plus, for us, we value the time our brood of blended step-siblings are willing to play happily with each other no matter what they're doing! But this bike ride was more than a bike ride - it was a picture to me of relationship, and it reminded me that it's worth the drive, worth the time, worth getting the bike fixed, worth the sweat and soggy clothes to fill the little love bucket of my son. In doing so, my bucket was overflowing!
And you know what else he said? "Mom, you know what happens when you play video games ALL the time? They actually start to get really boring and you wish you could do something else." Oh really? Hmmm, in that case, I may know three other kids who need to be invited on a bike ride soon...
See you around town!