I once received a rather surprising birthday gift after replying to this ad :
“Win free tickets to the Motorcycle show”.
I’d experienced my first motorcycle ride on my twelfth birthday. I clearly recall straddling the massive bike, leaning into the sturdy back of its male driver, and sensing his strength steering the bike as it accelerated. As a shy girl standing on the cusp of young womanhood, experiencing this raw power roaring beneath me contrasted starkly to my rather dull days. Watching the scenery whizz by, I even flirted with the idea of possibly owning one as an adult. Eventually university and family responsibilities displaced that dream.
When I did win those free tickets, my twelve-year youngest son recalled his inaugural ride at the family cottage. I can well imagine his thrilling perspective from behind the male driver- he was the tender age of only two.
Who else would I take but him?
The event itself lived up to our expectations. We admired and compared the abundant motorbikes on display, entering every single contest, hoping to win something. Our mutual favorite was the bike that had won the World Superbike Championship race – the Ducati 998. After the show, its advertising brochure graced my living room bookshelf.
On my birthday months later, my son came up behind me and asked:
“Hey mom, have you seen the gift for you in the driveway?”
I joked, “Oh really? Did you buy me a fancy sports car?
“No, something better. Come and see.”
Curious now, I looked through the curtain windows to scan the driveway.
“Nope, no sports car there.”
“Mom! Come on!”. Sharing his enthusiasm, I hurried outside.
Hidden behind my old Honda sat a shiny new red Ducati motorbike.
Just like the one on the brochure.
The motorbike was more than a surprising birthday gift. It was and remains a tangible memento of our rapport and camaraderie. Parenting is never simply about being a role model, teaching manners and reading stories before bed. Parenting is sharing my whole life with my children, all my youthful and still present longings and losses.
Even though neither my son or I may ever own a Ducati, in many ways, this replica is even better. The miniature that graces my bookshelf will never break down nor wear out.
Just like the love between mother and son.