Celebrating a 14 year old’s Birthday In 2020 is not easy. I couldn’t be prouder of how you handled it Aaron.
No birthday parties with friends and money is tight. Your mostly stuck at home and everything is closed anyhow. Family has to keep a distance and Grandpa is still confined to the hospital. What do you do with a day like this?
Creating a very small Birthday gift wish list, his lack of desire for “things” is always apparent. Often holding a greater value on experiences I believe he did get that wish today, just not however the typical birthday one. Enjoying the birthday morning excitement with his brother and little sister he opened his gifts with appreciation and patience as we spread the few gifts out. Each one to be opened through out the day in a appropriate order. A Tim Hortons mug for our maturing boy who requests the occasional coffee rather than just the previous hot chocolate and marshmallows of earlier years. For the next activity, a light and warm mid layer from NorthFace to go under his riding gear. Never does a birthday seem to pass without including some sort of tour on the motorcycle and so that was his afternoon plan.
Asking for a ride we set out route largely dictated by his birthday wishes, and the need for a good “fun” local rip. With his final destination choice on the tour making me very proud.
Starting off with a dinner errand, the choice of homemade burgers required some baked goods and tasty buns from Cobs Bread. Looping through the gnarly twisted paved routes and scenic roads we made our way to Sydney to the disappointing ghost town of its main strip. No ice-cream or warm treats just silence and closed doors. Shrugged off, we continued the loop down the mostly desolate but scenic streets leading back to Victoria.
Making a stop at Mt. Tolmie we kept strict rules to not touch the railings and keep our distance from people. Hanging out on the mountain plateaus we watched the city slowly move. The world’s situation being ever so real, we hear the voices of stress and frustration in the air as we listen to the breakdown of someone in the distance screaming “Stay away, get away from me!”. In sharp contrast, returning to the parking lot I witness Aaron engaging in a conversation with a nice old man. Chatting at a distance, we listened to his stories of former glory as a motorcycle rider. Hearing the passion and joy of the experiences he once had still resonating long after his age put a stop to it. It was uplifting to listen to and I believe Aaron especially connects to this rider mindset. A positive interaction not necessarily about motorcycles but about understanding each other. A connection made spanning decades of age and the shared feeling of being apart of this world wide family.
A lesson in appreciation and respect for our aging community, this interaction with the retired rider brought on a mature conversation between Aaron and I. To sum it up, it was about people being more than they are at a given moment. The life of an old man can once have had vast experiences. Daring, smart, adventurous and perhaps a keen professional, earlier stages in his life’s path consisting of very cool moments, now hidden in an old mans frame. Respect them, and take the time to have a conversation, you might be surprised by what you hear. This old guy on the hill use to ride a turbo charged 1000 sport bike, bet you didn’t see that one coming eh Aaron?
Speaking of cool old old guys… our final stop was a kind and selfless act, and I couldn’t be more proud of his choice. Stopping by the locked down Hospital we said hello to Grandpa. Looking up to the window above, we shared a nice conversation through the speaker phone bringing a big smile to our old man. So pleased was I to see his willingness to include him in his special day, and equally pleased was Grandpa. Good job Aaron.
Wrapping up the day with a birthday cake song sung in the most out of tune way, brought an excess amount of laughter to our family isolation capsule. This lead to the final gift and a small project… clearing the bikes and turning our little shop storage room into a battlefield! Against my better judgement… a new game was installed in the PlayStation and the cat and mouse battle between the bros ensued.
Your a good kid Aaron, keep it up and I think you will be a pretty cool old man one day as well. Happy Birthday.