Let me brag about a couple of things which I think are worthy of boastfulness, though others may think are horrifying.
First, I live very close to the school that I ply my trade in. Very close, as in, I could probably sneak out at any time, race home, put on a blue spandex suit with a big red ‘S’ on my chest, come back, and people would think there was a phone booth outside the school.
Second, my eldest of three children, Yumi, has recently begun attending the same building as a student. She’s in grade 4, and she’s as jubilant about this as a squirrel who has found a Cadbury Fruit and Nut bar.
One of the best things Yumi and I do is ride to and from school together on our respective bikes. It’s a special thing. I shudder to think that there might eventually be a time when feeling the wind brush back our eyebrows while coasting on our mountain bikes together will be an unappreciated endeavour. Sometimes I even find myself getting choked up, cruising behind her while watching her little body, capped off with a mushroom-like bike helmet, bobbing up and down. She tries to talk to me and tell me about mundane moments of her day, and most of the time I have to yell, “Tell me later, honey, I can’t hear you!”
It’s been interesting to observe others’ reactions to Yumi and I. It’s perhaps a sign of the times.
The first reaction is surprise that we ride to school in the first place. Everyone burns gas to get to their destinations, you know. I’m not trying to jump on my high horse here; I understand that most people are captive to our bizarre, sprawling infrastructures, that context is king, and that everyone’s family decisions are often based on circumstance. It does concern me, however, that many people seem to have simply discounted travelling to school by foot or by pedal as an option. Like it’s Cherry Cola or something; it doesn’t exist any longer.
Another response I’ve received is one of mild horror when people realize I sometimes allow my daughter to walk/ride to school by her lonesome. The distance is 900 metres. That’s half a mile. We’re talking 984.252 yards.
Once, on a rainy day in September, I actually had a stranger admonish me for riding home in the rain with Yumi. I was flabbergasted. Are we sugar cubes?
I don’t think they realize I’m trying to raise eagles, not budgies.
At this point I have to step off my soapbox in the interests of: a) preventing blograntism, and b) keeping this post for what it is.
This post is a dad’s love letter to his daughter. I adore eating pho with you on our lunch dates at Sweet Basil. I treasure getting a glimpse of your face in the hallways. And I get all fuzzy in my stomach when we’re cruising around the streets together, ringing our bike bells.