I don’t remember a whole lot from my childhood. But the memories I do have a very sharp. Aside from summers spent swimming 9-to-5 like a job and smelling my mom’s hair just before she told me she was pregnant with my sister, few memories stand out more than when we had to commute using public transportation. I’m talking, up before the crack of dawn so mom could get us kids to the babysitter and get to work by 9:00 AM.
And now I’ve begun doing the same thing. Actually, it wasn’t until Summer and I had two kids on vacation, that child care and commuting by bus became a real issue. As I started pricing the child care, I almost had a heart attack. All day child care for two children is expensive. And getting them there is a challenge, to say the least. Especially since we all have to get there by bike.
The first day was a bitch. We were up at 5:30 AM and out of the door by 6:00 (you have no idea what I had to go through to get the boys to get dressed, even in their sleep deprived stupor. I told them to sleep earlier. They’ll learn.). We all mounted our bikes and set out for the Boys & Girls Club, which had the best rates for summer day camp. Four miles, up hill, down hill, busy streets, early in the morning.
For someone who had spent that latter part of the school year commuting by bike, the youngest seemed to have the hardest time. He cried about his nose hurting, complained about being hot and generally had a hard time with the whole thing. The oldest spent half the ride yelling at the youngest to stop crying. At one point we went down a hill and I let myself fly down until I reached the bottom. Along the way, the boys lost sight of me. When they caught up the oldest was crying and glared at me angrily. “He got scared because he couldn’t see you,” the youngest said rolling his eyes.
Despite the challenges, we made it to our destination and I got to work on time. It took an hour to make a 30 minute ride, but I’m pretty sure we’ll get faster as the boys get more used to the route. The ride home was much easier and faster and when we made it, we all vegged out in front of the television.
I saw a sign that the average bicyclist loses 13 lbs their first year commuting by bike. Those are results I can get behind. That and showing my kids that you don’t need a car to get around town. The more used to it I get, the less inconvenient it seems. We were even able to grocery shop–I’m talking real shopping–and get everything home on our bikes.
Truthfully, there have been plenty of times I wish I had a car. But I’m also learning to make due and so are my kids. Much like when my mom would drag my sister and I out on the bus to get to the sitter, I have to drag my kids out on the rode at ungodly hours to get them to the sitter as well. The main difference is that we’re all getting a work out on our way to our destinations.
As my mom always said, “I gotta do what I gotta do.”
Truer words are rarely ever spoken.