14 November 2012
On their first bikes without training wheels, my twin granddaughters raced each other down the street, shouting, pedaling like maniacs, their hair and fluorescent handlebar streamers alive and flying in the turbulence. They'd already learned how to slam on the coaster brakes, lock the rear wheels, and slew their tail ends just about one-eighty on sandy asphalt. Not particularly durable, the made-in-China knobby tires didn't waste any time wearing down to bald, then through the fabric skeleton to the inner tube. I had Hunter's bike upside down on the driveway, my tools deployed, tightening nuts after fixing the flat. She approached me quietly, wide eyed, this slightest labor of love an unexpected miracle that she could hardly believe: "You did all that for me?" As if I'd have it any other way. As if watching her and her siblings grow and thrive were not my joy, as if I could ever find a better measure of my life. I smiled at her. "Yes."