Written Sunday, June 6, 2010, 11 p.m.
Monday will be a full day of appointments at the Mayo Clinic – beginning at 7:30 a.m. and ending when our 4 p.m. consult ends. Because it makes Stross’ no-food-or-drink-after-midnight easier, we typically head to the Med City on Sunday night (like tonight) to spend the evening at our favorite home-away-from-home hotel.
We do this whenever Stross' Mayo schedule calls for an early start to an incredibly full day. It gives us time for a preparatory evening of pizza, swimming (sometimes) and a good night's sleep.
This time we had a surprise for Stross upon our arrival. We had arranged for a visit from Heather with Bikes for Everybody. In fact when we pulled into the parking lot, she had already arrived from Red Wing with a hand-pedal bike for Stross to try. The vlog is really the best way for you to find out what happened next.
Some context might be helpful for you, however. For instance, you might appreciate knowing that we attempted to get a bike for Stross more than a decade ago. It matched his abilities at the time and was among the latest technologies at the time, but it required too much energy and coordination to be fun. For Stross, that bike felt more like physical therapy than recreation. We didn't know that on the day he got it, though. I clearly remember and cherish the memories of the day it arrived. His blue bike had him beaming. He felt just like one of the neighborhood kids and, equipped with a set of wheels to call his own, he tried his darndest to keep up with them.
I don't remember when the fun became work. I only remember that the blue bike's days faded with Stross' interest in keeping up with the neighborhood kids. Sometimes fun isn't worth it. Fun has to be fun.
Today was fully different. Stross is a young man now. And while he’s lost more of his already lacking physical abilities in his lower extremities, he’s more than made up for the reduced lower body mobility with his upper body. A hand-pedaled bike is just what his body likes, and exactly what he needs. This bike promises grownup-type pleasure rides, exercise and even independence. And the time he spent in the hotel's parking lot with the demo not only looked fun, it felt fun. As with the blue bike years ago, seeing Stross ride the hand-pedal bike brought his dad and I one of those elusive moments of involuntary joy.
Our oldest son rode a bike today. He rode one independently of us and looked extremely grown up as he rode it. So we'll figure out a way to buy him a bike just like this one - only in emerald green with a black seat (Stross' choice). And we'll probably smile every time he rides it, because he'll be smiling. After all he was born ready to embrace moments such as these, and many, many more.