It seemed like a good idea. My son and I had spent time during the first week of our family vacation watching cycling at the London Olympics. Not in real life I hasten to add. We are five time zones away in the USA and so we watched Bradley Wiggins and his facial hair winning gold on TV. The end result was that I suggested we go for a cycle ride.
And my son said yes. I am not sure why I was surprised. It was hard to watch the Olympics without feeling excited and patriotic, and feeling the urge to do it ourselves. Bradley made it all look so easy.
I prepared myself well – energy bar, training shoes, air-dry shirt, ‘go-faster’ shorts. I even checked tire pressures on my bike. My son didn’t seem quite so focused – orange water, flip flops, Barcelona T-shirt, swim shorts. And its two years since the bike he uses was the right size.
So off we set. Complete with helmets, cell phone, first aid kit, $20, an extra bottle of orange water and a wave from my wife and daughter on their way to the beach.
Ever the dutiful father, I started by positioning myself adjacent to my son so I could pass on advice about cycling up and down hills, gear changes and road positioning. I had cycled our route a few times – 5 miles out and 5 miles back – and hoped it wouldn’t be too strenuous for him. How wrong I was. My son cruised up and down the hills as if they weren’t there. Flip flops flapping and t-shirt blowing. We stopped briefly when we reached our outward destination – just long enough for him to refuel with orange water, whilst I struggled to cool down and catch my breath.
He asked if we had to go back or whether we could go further. My best excuse was that my wife was expecting us so we should head back. I was quite impressed with this on the spur of the moment. He sailed back just as easily…with me cycling madly – and sweating profusely – just trying to keep up.
OK. He is only fifteen. And I am not. But he enjoyed our ride – and so did I. We will be going out again. I may choose a steeper hill next time just to see if I can outlast him. I am not holding my breath!
Vacations are a time for family. Cycling with my son. Swimming with my daughter. Sitting on the deck with my wife. Eating with my family. These are special moments. My family means everything to me. Relationships with our families are unconditional. They are not based on how well we perform in the job we do, the title we hold, or the salary we earn. They are our family. They are there for me.
Vacations are also a time for friends. We have great friends we see every summer. Our families have grown up together. Jumped off the dock together. Became teenagers together.
We have known these friends for nearly ten years. We only ever see them once or twice a year but they are definitely some of the best friends we have. We spend time telling stories – both funny and sad. We talk about our families, our work and our futures. We listen. We reflect. And we laugh a lot. I feel better.
At all times – but especially in times of change – family and friends are really important. And at times of change investing in family and friends is really important and great fun!