Time To Get A Bicycle. With Training Wheels. – Josh Journal
Sometimes last year, immediately after my friend’s teenage daughter’s birthday, we got talking about what to get for her next birthday.
With birthday gifts, I don’t exactly make the best choice, so I welcome all the help I can get.
This case in particular is more dear to me as I am close to the family and the child is one of my favorites.
I know I can’t be the “uncle” that underdelivers, but I also do not want to upstage the parents. That would be over the top.
According to my friend, his daughter has always wanted a bicycle, so getting her one for her next birthday sounds like a good idea.
Normally, I would go ahead to get her the bicycle, but there is a catch here. This is where lots of “uncles” and “aunties” slip up.
After having a conversation with one of the parents regarding presents, we take that as a green light. If the gift in question was something small, takes up less space, is less consequential, and isn’t time and resources consuming, then go ahead.
But if you are getting your cousin, nephew, or niece a pet, game, or something in that class, I’ll advise you to settle it with both parents.
One of the parents might be cool with it, and the other isn’t. There is also the fact that the parent that permitted the gift might not be involved in caring for it or dealing with its consequences.
You don’t want the other parent being upset with you for something that is supposed to bring joy. Or for them to be cursing you under their breath each time your gift gives them extra chores.
You might think a bicycle is not a pet. It doesn’t require any care. But that is the wrong way to look at the situation.
What if the child gets hurt while riding the bicycle? How about washing and oiling it? And what if the child starts to spend more time with the bicycle than with her books?
At that point, it is easy to bring the blame back to me, especially if they never approved of it.
So don’t be offended if I bring up the same issue I have earlier cleared with you, with your spouse. The best I can do is bring it up in your presence and ensure you look good while at it.
Speaking about bicycles, in the course of discussing with my friend, it came up that I do not know how to ride a bicycle.
Let me situate it properly. I have never ridden a bicycle.
You need to have witnessed my friend’s reaction to this news. It was like I said I have an extra nose.
With this in mind, my friend insisted it was time I learnt how to ride a bicycle. According to him, it’s a life skill. According to me, technology has moved just a little beyond that.
This resulted in a discussion that lasted longer than our discussion about getting his daughter a bike.
According to him, what would happen if his daughter asks me to ride her bicycle and I say I can’t? I told him there is no shame in acknowledging what I don’t know.
After all, I know a lot of other things. And she knows that.
But he won’t have any of that.
He insisted he needs to teach me, but I told him I am too grown to be nursing a fresh injury from learning to ride a bicycle.
There are a thousand and one other things I’d love to learn as I get older. Riding a bike doesn’t feature on that list.
After a protracted argument, and realizing that there is no way I’d risk breaking the arm I write with, just to ride a bike, we made some concessions regarding safety.
I still remember the uproar that greeted Jay-Z being photographed with a safety helmet. Not forgetting Barack Obama too.
I don’t think I’m cool enough to make the safety helmet look cool.
This is why I intend to have the training wheels on when I learn to ride a bike.
Before you start laughing at me, remember that in pictures, you won’t get to see the bottom half of the bicycle.
More importantly, even while you laugh at me, I can relax in the knowledge that those learning wheels are there to ensure I don’t topple over.
(He that laughs without a broken arm, laughs best.)