This morning, B and I went to a motocross race to watch people fly around a dusty track holding onto the handlebars of obnoxiously loud death machines while people cheered in the hot sun. (This picture is of him doing a sport that does not require as much protective gear. In the dark.)
B might have a different version of events.
Fascination with dirt bikes erupted a few months ago. Who knows the source—YouTube? Someone’s SnapChat story? Wherever the idea that he is destined for a motocross career came from, he has diligently applied it to ever third conversation we’ve had in the past 12 weeks or so. Thanks, universe.
Do you know how much a dirt bike costs? A lot. Do you know how fast they go? Just about the speed of light. Do you know how many people die from dirt bike accidents on any given Sunday?
B assures me the number is small. “I don’t think dirt bikes are as dangerous as horseback riding,” he informs me, loftily.
While we were at the track, two little kids ended up tangled with each other and their bikes as the rest of the pack left them in a spit of dust. One of the kids could stand, and waved frantically toward the crowd, while the other kid remained pinned under a bike, arms flailing. A half dozen men bolted toward them as I clapped my own hands to my eyes, not wanting to see blood or broken limbs or faces peeled from the forehead. The men surrounded the kids, righted the bikes, picked up the one kid taking a dirt bath, and shouted, “Go, go, go, go!”
And the kids? They went.
B shot me a look like, see?
Entwined in his well-researched information on kinds of bikes, safety precautions, and injury statistics is this running commentary on how we don’t have any money and why do all the other kids get to be rich enough to do motocross. I tried to explain that every family makes a choice about how to spend their hard-earned cash, but it seems to be falling on willfully deaf ears. And honestly, when I listen to myself, I do sound pretty lame. “Investments!” “Retirement!” “The mortgage!”
When did I turn so clearly middle aged?
We have managed pretty well to supply our kids with the tools they need to accomplish at least a few dreams. When T wanted to join cub scouts, we had a long conversation about bias and discrimination and when he still wanted to join and achieve change from the inside, we said all the power to you and gave him a ride to the meetings. When L wanted to learn to snowboard, we made him promise to always wear a helmet and then we bought a snowboard, paid for some lessons, and drove him to the mountain. And when B subsequently wanted to ski, we did the same thing.
Motocross is the first major request where it feels like a resolution is far, far from achievable. I might now have some inkling of what my parents felt when I asked for a horse.
But… I got the horse.
Maybe this is what I should tell B instead of explaining about compound interest and the value of saving money. The story of how I got a horse, after despairing I’d ever get a horse. About how that look your parents get when you ask for the impossible is more a look of pain because we can’t simply hand you a credit card and say hey, go for it. We WANT to make it possible for you to ride your own death machine in the blazing hot sun, but the path might be a little longer than you expect. But we’ll get there.
Dear b, your word for next week is Woman.