IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO KNOW what, exactly, would have become of the thing were it not for Jakob. It might have deteriorated, rotted and ended up in front of the house on one of the days the city came by to pick up trash too big for the garbage can.
Several years ago, I purchased a bicycle trailer for Kalista. It was the third and final step toward the first bike of her own – one that can hold 100 pounds of children, divided by two. In other words, the trailer is no good once your child breaks the 50-pound mark.
She’s been over that for several years. So, like the handlebar seat, the over-the-rear-wheel seat and hitch to tow her child-size bike, the trailer became a cobwebbed thing of the past in the corner of the garage.
But what fun it was for a little while.
ON SATURDAY, I TOOK the plastic rims to the trailer to a local bike shop, paid $20 to have two new tubes installed and the trailer began its second life. I was on my way out of town with The One I Love, Kalista and Jakob for an afternoon on 20-plus miles of paved bike path through the city, along a river, past a zoo and around any distraction within a million miles.
I’ll admit I got a little sentimental seeing our 3-year-old sprawled across the double seat in the trailer like an Egyptian Pharaoh getting fanned and coddled while being transported across the desert. Not because it did my heart good to see the contraption on the road again, but because it reminded me of a past more distant than I’d realized.
Kalista – albeit she definitely needs more practice – was now on her own bicycle. With gears. No hitch to my bike. No training wheels. She was completely independent of her dad.
AND WHILE I LOVED seeing the trailer in use again and bringing so much joy to my son, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t remind me of all the voyages it made possible for Kalista to enjoy with me when I was a single father. I’d also be lying if I said it didn’t make me happy to live it all over again – except this time with Kalista riding alongside of me and her new brother chattering away behind us.
Jakob is 3, so he’s got a few more years to be a baby/toddler/boy before his parents will need to change his path toward growing up. But Kalista is 8. Externally, it’s important The One I Love and I not be so sappy and gently – delicately – push her toward the next stage of her youth. Internally, though, I’m a damn mess. I still want to treat her like she’s 3. I still struggle to shake my reception of her as a toddler.
That’s why it’s a painful delight (that’s mostly a delight, i swear) to see her pedaling alongside her old bike trailer.