many years ago, when i was a teenager, my dad had a motorcycle. as i recall, it was a honda ‘goldwing.’ he and my mom had a lot of fun on that motorcycle. our neighbors down at then end of our gravel road had a motorcycle too, and often times they and my parents would take their bikes into town for ice cream or sometimes head out for sunday rides. i specifically remember one saturday afternoon getting a phone call from my mom telling me that they had driven over to noel, missouri and, on a whim, they decided they were going to spend the night. and they told me that i was in charge and to watch my little brother.
at the time, i thought they were acting highly irresponsible (spoken with all the judgmental attitude that i could muster at nineteen). but as i sit here typing this i am smiling to myself thinking how much fun that must have been for them.
anyway, every once in a while, my dad would take me for a ride on his motorcycle. and i remember one time in particular when the whole family had gone camping for the weekend…and i got to ride the whole way home behind daddy on the motorcyle. we were heading east on i-244 and were exiting onto the onramp to go north on highway 169. well it’s a long, wide curving onramp, and as we started into the curve, i’ll never forget daddy looking back at me and saying, ‘don’t fight it sis…just lean into the curve with me.’
i feel like i should add here that my dad is a retired truck driver with an impeccable driving record. he had a reputation for being able to back trailers into tight spaces that no other driver would even attempt. he has all kinds of specialized hazardous waste certifications and whatnot. and if you needed something hauled somewhere fast and done right, my dad was your guy.
i would also like to add here that family vacations were a nightmare. it was all about ‘making good time’ and every bathroom stop was shaving precious minutes off his previous record time getting to grandma and grandpa’s.
oh and also, daddy has driven more miles backwards than i have forewards. which i am reminded of every time my dad gets into the car with me driving.
anyway, i know i have totally got off the subject, but my whole point in telling you all this is so that you might understand that my my dad is an incredibly safe and experienced driver. and anytime i went anywhere that he was driving, there was nothing but complete faith in him. until that day on the motorcycle.
honestly, that whole idea just made no sense to me…it’s just so counter-intuitive. i’m sure that it has something to do with aerodynamics and center of gravity and all that nonsense. but the deal is on a motorcycle you are totally exposed to the elements and if you crash there is nothing between you and the road. so why on earth would you lean in closer to something that had the potential to skin the hide off of your leg?
but on that day i really had no choice but to trust my dad, so i just held on tight with my arms around my dad’s middle. then i closed my eyes and leaning against my dad…leaned in to the curve. and miraculously, we wound up safely on the highway that would take us the rest of the way home.
it was exhilarating.
i will tell you that all the years later, i still remember that day like it was yesterday and that lesson has stayed with me. truth be told, this was the thing that finally helped me get through the big curve ball of my life – my empty nest. because only when i finally stopped fighting it and leaned into it a little. that’s when i got past it. that’s HOW i got past it.
you know, when i think about, i guess there is always the danger of leaning in too far…of completely losing balance and control. that’s when having an experienced and trustworthy driver is key. someone you can lean on to help navigate the curves.
which is exactly what my dad is to me.
and today i would just like the celebrate my dad. thank him for being steadfast and for his quiet confidence on the road of life. but mostly for letting me lean on him.
happy father’s day daddy. i love you.