Sean has a birthday coming up soon and his father and I have promised him a bicycle. So for the last month or so, every time we go to Wal-Mart, which is just about every day, we have to go to the bike department and test drive the various models.
If you have spent any time in the Wal-Mart bicycle department, then you know that as well as having a few floor models “on the floor” they also display them by hanging them from the front tire by a hook. If you have a child, then you also know that the one bike they want to test drive is not on the floor, but hanging from a hook.
Yesterday we were in Wal-Mart and we weren’t in a hurry, so when Sean asked me if I would get him a certain bike down from a hook, I agreed.
Removing those little 20-pound bikes from their hooks is not as easy as it looks.
In order to get the bike he wanted, I had to bend over slightly so as to not bump my head on the bike suspended directly above it. And then in some sort of Tom Cruise Mission Impossible style move, I had to delicately lift and turn the wheel just so at just the right angle at just the right moment in just the right sequence without gouging my eye out with the handle bar of the neighboring bike or knocking down the entire display of floor models like a line of dominos. Although that would have been a classic Antique Mommy moment. But the bike on the hook, it wouldn’t budge. It was like it had been super glued to the hook. So I did what I always do when something doesn’t work – I jiggled it and then I jiggled it harder.
When it finally began to give, I straightened up just a bit so that I could raise it up and off the hook. And that’s when the strap of my backpack purse caught on a bicycle that was hanging behind me. And I was kind of stuck. I wasn’t exactly suspended, but I was on my tip toes and I was tethered and I kind of felt like a guy in a parachute caught in a tree. And I felt mighty ridiculous. And so I began praying. “Dear kind and merciful God, please, I beg of you, don’t let any of my neighbors or anyone I know be anywhere near the bicycle department right now. And also, please God, let the security cameras not be working. Thank you and Amen.”
I put the bike back on its hook and then I tried to reach around and unhook myself. After a good bit of flapping and twisting, it became apparent to me and the little boy who found the whole scene extreeeemely amusing, that I can no longer access that area between my shoulder blades as I could in days of yore and youth.
Then in a move that normally should be reserved for someone wearing sequins and featured on Dancing with the Stars — and never by a mom in a Wal-Mart — I did a little shoulder shimmy and wiggled myself free of the backpack. Just like Houdini.
Sean squealed and clapped his hands when I finally got his bike down and then he hopped on it and gleefully took a few wobbly laps around the bicycle aisle hollering for all the store to hear, “Look at me Mom! Look at me!”
And the sight of that nearly four-year-old boy gleefully pedaling away from me, so happy and so proud to be riding a big bike, put an ostrich egg in my throat. I stood in the bike department of Wal-Mart trying not to cry. The journey of his life has begun and every day in some small way, he is pedaling away from me.