Learning to ride

First I ran alongside with a firm hand on her neck and shoulders to keep her from falling.  Then not so firm as she started to get her balance. Then I only held the seat, lightly. Finally, still running alongside, I told her I was holding the seat, but was really not. Keep pedaling, I said, you’ve got it. There was a mix of terror and delight on her face as she pulled away from me.

Initially,  she wouldn’t ride out of my sight.   She was scared of falling, and the first time she did,  I was immediately there to help her up and brush her off.  I told her that it is good to fall sometimes, it means she is learning. I remember she would later spend her afternoons riding endless circles around our block, and I’d see her through the kitchen window as she whizzed by our house.  She told me that it was hard to describe, but she just loved the feeling of riding fast all on her own.

These days the bicycle is collecting dust, but her circles are much much bigger and those glimpses as she rushes by our window have become infrequent.   I hope she always remembers to wear a helmet.

trail ride 2002

The Gift

I received this today from my Dad, Bob Reed Sr.  I don’t think he’ll mind that I share it.  Thanks Dad.

Been thinking about two of our kids and their spouses, and their adjustment to the empty-nest syndrome. They each have their only child off to college, so for the first time in eighteen years, they are alone.

And they are trying to adjust to the vacant bed, unoccupied chair, and silence. There is no mess to pick up. No one to admonish. No one to argue back. No one to bug.

And they can pretty much do what they want. The freedom is sort of scary. Every night can be a date night.

They worry about their kids and their new experiences. And they envy them in many ways. For they have released them like new kites into a new world—a world they themselves once occupied.

But it all reminds me of similar times with those parents way back when. And the ache and joy we experienced when they went off to higher adolescent education.

We consoled ourselves with the thought that is was inevitable, necessary, and desired. And we tried to justify it all by reminding ourselves that our kids were a temporary gift.

Marvin Hamlisch said it best in the musical Chorus Line in the song “What I Did for Love.” One line stands out: “The gift was ours to borrow.”

Of course, he was referring to the talent that was the special part of a dancer’s brief life. But we interpreted the phrase as the wonderful gift of our children that we enjoyed on borrowed time, as they were growing and making our lives so full.

As I’ve noted before, they were only on loan. And perhaps remembering the joys of that long-ago gift of their kids will now help our kids through this time of adjustment and transition.

That gift was—and  is—a  once-in-a-lifetime blessing. May they remember and cherish that special experience.  And may it help them now.

Grandpa Reed

Canaveral beach walk

untrodsand Hal had the idea to attempt another beach walk this holiday weekend, and I jumped at the idea.   Hal has completed it 4 times before, and the last time I went with him, I had knee trouble, and bailed out after 4 miles.

This time Hal wanted to walk south from New Smyrna end to the Playalinda end.  Our spouses graciously agreed to provide transport, and Alison dropped us off about 7:30am at Apollo beach at the tail end of a rainstorm with blustery winds.   However, it rapidly cleared up, winds dropped to gentle breezes, and we discovered the tide was ideal; it was dropping to a low at about late morning, leaving us with lots of hardpack sand for the first 2/3rds of our walk.

We encountered no one along the way except for a ranger running turtle patrol on a 4 wheeler.  Since it is still summer, we each carried about a gallon of water.  We saw thousands of staked turtle nests, a few fresh turtle crawls and one dead hatchling, dolphins doing acrobatics and leaping completely out of the water, and nudists at each end of the walk.  The oddest sight was a set of footprints at about mile 9.  They seemed to walk out of the surf, went straight towards the dune line, and did not come back down.

Flickr photoset hereGoogle map of the 14.5 miles covered.

Linda and Alison met us in Playlinda about 5:30pm just ahead of some rain squalls coming in, and we celebrated at Dixie Crossroads with shrimp and seafood.

730am 14+miles untrodsand Headless hatchline break time lagoon croaker turtle nestings finish rockshrimp

f*ck it list

Inspired by http://blogs.vocalo.org/amykr/ I thought I’d put my own list together.  These are all things that I have done at one time or another in my life, which I am intending to avoid altogether for the rest of my days.

  • leave a shopping cart in the parking lot
  • permit someone to cut in a traffic lane because they didn’t want to wait at the beginning of the backup
  • get in a fight with someone on the internet
  • borrow money with pre-payment stipulations
  • smoke (unless I go to prison)
  • try to impress someone with how much I know
  • drink to the point of blackout
  • eat while talking on the phone
  • litter
  • fail to record car maintenance events
  • be careless while handling a catfish
  • texting from the drivers seat while the car is moving
  • eat a clam, oyster or mussel
  • be pressured into volunteering for a job I really don’t want
  • go for a year without a dental checkup
  • break things when I get mad or aggravated (I have a punching bag now)
  • download warez software

Gina goes to UF

dormbed92

On August 18, we accompanied Gina and helped her get set up in her dorm at University of Florida, just over 2 hours from home.    Her pal Alison accompanied Gina in her car, while we drove in the Honda pilot.   While there, we met her roommate Megan and Megan’s parents, got her computer up and running and made a run to Lowes for additional supplies.   We tearfully departed about 6pm, but it didn’t really strike home until we got back to our empty house.   Everything’s different now.  There’s a photo set on flickr.com and a few thumbnails below.