We hoped the news would be there was no breakage.
We hoped the headline for this year’s Seattle-to-Portland for Eldest would be
May Look like Cream-Puff, but One Tough Cookie
when she took a spill (actually, when she endo’ed which is serious-biker-speak for back-tire-lifting-and-ejecting-rider-over-handle-bars) at the 100-mile half-mark, and then went on to bike another 100 miles to the finish line.
Two hundred miles in one day is impressive enough to stand alone as newsworthy–speaking as one who has never topped a century. Amazing, too, the exhilaration she comes wheeling in with – not prostrated and dull-eyed with exhaustion but rejoicing like the strong woman that she is.
However, and sadly, to cut to the chase, or rather the crash: her arm is broken, after all. Not badly: a radial-head fracture with minimal displacement. But still this means a cast for two months and no more biking this summer for Eldest, “Which is a bummer. Biking’s my thing!”
No fun to be grounded, her right wing clipped (not only no more biking – no more swimming, no more driving, no more guitar, no more piano or typing without difficulty, no more chopping veg for cookery, no more kneading bread, no more trench-digging, house painting, or lucrative college-expense-defrayment opportunities). Still she insists, “But I don’t regret it. It was a great ride.”
Because there is a risk inherent in biking – especially at such high speeds, travelling so closely packed. Fritz has ridden this ride for thirteen years without mishap, Eldest plans to ride it many many times in the future, but as in anything, there is always a risk.
Nothing, though, like the certain risk of the expensive, painful, lingering deaths that wait at the end of a life spent immobile, stuck in front of our culture’s many screens, popping high-fructose morsels and never moving a muscle.
We tell ourselves this, Fritz and I, giving thanks for minimal displacement rather than dwelling on what might have been (broken teeth, concussion), rather than second-guessing if-onlies or eating our hearts out in anger at whoever left a chunk of concrete larger than a loaf of bread directly in the path.
Reminding ourselves all we can ever safely hope for our children is that their life will be a great ride, with no lasting regrets, no matter how they endo.