Tuesday, June 21, 2011

continuing to learn new tricks

I loved this article in The New York Times about a bike class for adults who want to learn to ride.  I so appreciate the reasons why these folks did not learn to ride as kids and I really applaud their courage for taking it on now.

I could not help but be reminded of my mom. Thinking about this now, I can't recall ever seeing my mom ride a bike nor have I seen pictures of her on a bike (I may need to reach out to my sibs to see if they have different recollections).  However, long after my mom became an adult, well after becoming a mom of seven children, after tons of hours taking each of us to swimming lessons and watching some of us compete in numerous swim meets, my mom decided to take swimming lessons.

Growing up, she had spent time in the ocean but did very little swimming in pools. So while she learned to bob up and down in the waves, she never learned how to put her face in the water and stroke.  As a kid, while she was insistent that we all learn to swim, I remember watching her in a pool, always carefully keeping her head out of water and I am sure it was *not* because she was worried about her hair.

I can't even quite guess how old she was when she decided to sign up for swim classes, not at our local YMCA, but one a few towns over so she wouldn't be apt to run into people she knew.  I was already out of college though so she had to be well into her 50s or perhaps even in her 60s.  I wish I go back and interview her about this choice. I remember that I greeted the news with some mild enthusiasm but now, I think this is perhaps one of the coolest things ever.  My mom, well into middle age, decided to learn to swim.  Wow.

And a big WOW to all the folks spending time at the Brooklyn Bridge Park learning to balance and pedal and set themselves free.


Jennifer said...

I was riding my bike the other day thinking that of the many nice things my parents did for me, teaching me how to ride a bike and getting me a bike was probably one of the top ten best things they ever did for me. I love biking that much. I also love in line skating and got my mom to do it a while back. She really loved it. I would love to see her do that again!

It's great your mom was willing to try something new because sometimes it's too easy to think that the time to learn a new activity is in the past. Good reminder that we're never too old to have fun!

Tabb said...

I feel that I am entitled to my share of lightheartedness and there is nothing wrong with enjoying one's self simply, like a boy. ~ Leo Tolstoy In response to criticism for learning to ride a bicycle at age 67

Lim Soo 林蘇 said...

You know what? I learned to ride a bike four years ago at the age of 41. Similar to your mum, I went to a place no neighbour around to learn it. And now I am learning to swim with my twins, taking the same class with them.

sara said...

Thanks for these great comments.

@Jennifer-- I hope my boys feel the same way.

@Tabb-- EXCELLENT quote.

@Lim Soo-- Go, you! Love that your taking on swimming now that you've conquered the bike. Cool.