Last night I had took some time to add some events and things to do on our calendar since it is summer vacation. Little things that were free or affordable for me to do with the kids because staying at home I know was going to be short lived. One of the events I found was a Bike Rodeo which from the description, sounded like a lot of fun.
This morning the kids got up and I got them started on their chores and I announced that if they can get some of their chores done by 10 then I would take them to a bike rodeo. After some hustle and a few conversations about how, Yes, you do need socks. And Yes, you do need to wear underwear... I loaded up the boys bikes and we headed to the "bike rodeo".
In the description they mentions a bike course, bike tune ups, helmet inspection, gift bags and a fun time. There were lots of little kids looking adorable with their bikes, scooters and plastic big wheels - almost every child wearing a helmet and all the moms chatting in their perfectly together yoga outfits and Starbucks drink. I was grateful I was able to get matching shoes on my boys and all 3 bikes loaded in the car on my own!
We stood in line waiting our turn - not really sure how things were working out but from the looks of it, each kid had to go through the "tune-up" stations before going on the course. All around us, kids were sitting on new bikes that still were shiny, tires that looked like they were barely used and no sign of dust, dirt or pollen on them. Either these kids don't get out much or their neighborhood is really maintained and their garage is stellar! My kids on the other hand... have bikes that have been handed down like their clothes (besides one which was a new birthday present), their tires have mud caked in the tread, one of the boys bike has a seat that is all chewed up from our dog and the grips on the handle bars are gone - again from a dog. Pretty sure 2 of the boys have pedals that have some bite marks in them too. But they ride those bikes every day in our driveway made of rocks and dirt and they ride around our walking paths that we have on our wooden property - making their own adventures daily. So clean shiny bikes is not something that this family has. But I am ok with that. In fact I am totally ok with all of it. The chewed up seat and pedals and grips - that is my reminder to the boys that if they don't take care of their stuff, then it gets ruined. And I am not here to follow them around constantly picking up their crap. We try to teach them daily that respect and responsibility is needed in life and in care of items and of people.
Now- here is where I am sure I will get some hate mail or even some rude comments but do me a favor and just don't ok.
We have never bought our kids helmets. And as much as I would love to give you my reasons why - I am just not going to go there. Maybe it is because I am embarrassed or maybe it is because I currently have a big stick shoved up in a dark crevice of mine.
We get up to the section where they are inspecting helmets and I say, "hi! These are my 3 boys". I smile and I start walking them to the next section because we don't have helmets NOR did it say anywhere in any place that helmets were REQUIRED To participate on the bike course - which was in the parking lot and a smaller area then our property. The lady that was in charge of the helmet area stops me, rolls her eyes at me then proceeds to look at my boys and says "you DON"T have a helmet?!" She gave this digusted "ugh" sound, put her hands on her hips and said "well you 3 look like you are rough riders and don't take care of things. Why should I give you a helmet? Are you EVEN going to wear one if I give you one?? Or is it something that you are going to throw on the ground and not take care of.. or is it going to sit up on a shelf in some garage never to be used?"
Here is where my head started spinning. First of all - how dare you talk to my kids like that and cast judgement on my family. Funny part of this is I have no anger at all - I am deeply hurt by this. I am shocked how in her 15 seconds of seeing us, she made me feel trashy and looked at me as an unfit mother. The other part I have a problem with is if you have something to say - feel free to say it to my face but how dare you say that to my kids. It was so sad. They looked at me with puppy dog eyes just looking confused. I finally said to the lady, "Yes, mam'ma of course they would wear it and take care of it. Thank you so much"
Gosh, I couldnt believe how much this lady hurt my heart. I watched her nicely fit and exchange other kids helmets and she just tore off tags and roughly handed them to my kids. No explation on how to properly fit them like she so nicely explained to the lady in front of me or anything.
Then we went over to get tires aired up and chained oiled. There again, my boys were picked apart for a chain that had rust on it, bolts that were not the original, grips that were not on the handles and a seat that was not perfect. Again with the comments under their breath. Seems to me that instead of making rude comments, this would have been a great time to NICELY - HEAR THAT BIKE PEOPLE.. N I C E L Y explain parts of the bikes to the boys and why it is important to make sure the chained is regularly oiled and etc.
AT this point I was very ready to go but my little one was itching to ride the course.
I don't think they could have ridden it fast enough to get through it. AT the end of the course, not one of my boys had a smile on their face. They were ready to leave and I don't blame them one bit. In fact, I felt terrible that I didn't grab them sooner and leave.
As we left and I was in the car, I could not shake this lady from my head. I didn't know if I should go back and give her a piece of my mind or swallow it all. Then I thought, well, maybe I should go back and tell her in nice words that she hurt my heart as well as my boys, but her mannerism looked like she wouldn't have cared a bit about how I feel. So instead, I sat in the parking lot and I prayed. I cried too but I prayed.
Summer vacation is shaking me down like a mob boss and this momma is already weak. There has got to be some glorious summer days coming up soon, pretty please, that brings happiness instead of tears and heartache and the need to eat my feeling away in a chocolate bar!