Remember this time.
School starts on Wednesday.
C will be entering the first grade, R will move from his preschool to C's school and into Kindergarten.
My emotions are mixed as I think about that. I am proud of them, I am excited for them. But I have the sense of a page turning, of a time in our lives passing into memory. And so I feel a poignancy about this transition too.
What a summer we have had, my family and me. I don't remember us being closer. It was a period of such love, and fun and appreciation for one another. I will always remember it as a summer of accomplishment for my sons.
When did C learn to ride his bike on two wheels? In the summer of 2010. July 5th, to be exact. We were in Kingston, at the beach house. C was playing with A.L. on the pickle ball court. A.L. had brought his two-wheeled bike and C decided to try it. He got on, and he peddled around that court again and again on two wheels, no training wheels. A huge smile on his face. "Daddy, look at me!" When we got home, he asked me to take his training wheels off his bike and he got on and went. So proud and amazed that he could do that any time he wanted.
When did R learn to ride his bike on two wheels? In the summer of 2010. July 25th, to be exact. We took C to Gregg's Cycle to buy him his birthday present, a new bike. He test rode three of them in the parking lot while we watched. R stood beside me and Suzanna and studied his brother intently. When C finished his first ride, jumped onto the second bike and rode off without hesitation, R said aloud but fully to himself: "He can get on any two-wheeled bike and ride it whenever he wants!" C picked the bike he liked, we loaded it into the van and headed home. From the back of the car, R proclaimed: "When we get home I'm going to ride on two wheels." And when we got home, I took his training wheels off and that's exactly what he did. So proud of himself. That night, when I tucked him into his bed, he looked at me with a smile infusing his face, his whole spirit: "It's so cool I can ride on two wheels now," he said. Yes, so cool, buddy. You'll never look back.
The way they both learned to ride on two wheels has become a motivational tool for the boys. I simply need to remind them now whenever they're faced with something they can't do: "remember how once you couldn't ride your bike on two wheels and now you can? What does that show you?"
"That there's nothing we can't learn!"
Right answer. That's true for all of us. There's nothing we can't learn. No thing. We just have to remember it and it's helpful to have reminders to prove it to us. Like our bikes.
The other big focal point of the summer was fishing. The boys and I spent a lot of time together doing that. I won't tell the whole story here right now. But I do want to remember that this was the summer they really stopped being our babies and became boys in the fullest sense. Digging in the dirt, finding worms for the fishing trips, casting into the lake and yanking blue gills, perch, pike and bull heads from the water with a whoop of triumph.
This was the summer they both showed me they are able. Capable of anything they truly want to do. Capable of more than I would have given them credit for. They can lead me to new experiences, they can teach me as much as I can teach them.
This was the summer they showed me a glimpse of them growing up. I am grateful to see that they are poised to be remarkable people. I am proud to see them growing. And also a little sad. I want to see them grow, but "nothing's sadder, I know, than the passing of time."
Can't change time, though. Can only make the most of the time we have.
Thanks for listening. I hope you'll remember the days of this wonderful summer. I hope you'll see these days as the beginning of better and better things.