This story will eventually spin around to a dog named Lady. So, you’ll definitely want to stick around for that.
But, this story is, more importantly, about my dad.
They say you won’t understand your parents until you are a parent yourself. This has always placed me at a disadvantage.
But, I’ve realized a few things since they’ve been gone.
My mom taught me “things.” The skilled how-to-do “things.” My dad, in a weird way he probably didn’t realize, taught me how to figure things out for myself.
I’m always interested to hear other people’s “father stories.”
“My dad taught me to bike … “
“… to fish …”
“ … to drive a car …”
“… to throw a baseball …”
And, to be honest, it always makes me a little jealous.
My dad didn’t teach me any of those things. But, I think my dad gave me space to figure things like that out for myself.
When I wanted a bike, like all the neighborhood kids already had, he said, “When you show me you know how to ride a bike, I will get you a bike.”
This took more than practice. This required me to cajole my friends and barter with them into loaning me their bikes, five minutes here, 10 minutes there, so I could practice. I’m sure I bent a few handlebars and dinged up a few frames when I wiped out. But, I figured it out, and one night after my dad got home from work, a friend – I’m pretty sure it was Pam, the girl down the block – loaned me her bike and I rode it to my house so my dad could see that I had learned to ride a bike.
That weekend, I had my bike.
And, it was purple with a flowered banana seat and it was exactly — exactly — the bike I dreamed of.
So, my dad didn’t teach me how to ride a bike. Not exactly. Or, did he?
My dad also gave me space to make decisions on my own, and here’s the story I want to tell. Continue reading