A Letter to My 2007 Self
By Heather Parker
I know what you’re thinking. The thrill you’re feeling watching your 5-year old son on the track while your toddler picks cicada shells off the pine trees. You’ve never seen him so happy. Night falls and you have to pack him up into his little car seat. In summer time he throws up red gatorade into his helmet— repeatedly. He gets faster. And faster.
During his races you scream— like your life, and his, depends on it— “GOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Pedal!, Pedal!!, Pedal!!!” You feel a rush of triumph when he crosses the finish line.
Baby brother will start racing too.
They’ll start missing school on Fridays to travel— Travel! All the way to Alabama! Early on, you’ll book the cheapest hotel possible— It’s just a couple of nights, and we’re only sleeping there! It won’t take you long to give up on that and start spending the extra coin on a nice suite. Don’t feel guilty about it, either.
They’ll miss holidays with family, birthday parties, football games, camping trips, roller skating. BMX is life!
They’ll see the country— the entire country— through the car window. They’ll ride across England in a Jetta Wagon on the wrong side of the road.
They’ll win— a lot.
They’ll lose— a lot.
You’ll get on them when you think they aren’t trying their hardest. Honestly. Why would they race and not try? Back off on that. They’re just little kids, and they’re doing their best. Give them a hug and an ice cream cone.
You will make friends through the shared emotions and experiences that BMX Racing brings. They will become your confidants and shoulders to lean on. They’ll tell your kids what a great job they’re doing. They’ll take your kids places that you’ve never been, and clean up their nosebleeds too.
You will cry — a lot. You will cry when they win! You will cry when you see them take a quiet walk alone after coming in 5th in a semi. You will cry in the ambulance. You will cry in the hospital waiting room. You will cry by his bed. You will want a time machine.
Don’t let BMX define your boys. They are so much more. It’s easy to do when they spend day and night on their bikes. It might become a bit lonely for them in the long run though.
In 10 years, those sweaty little boys in the back seat of your Suburban will learn more about commitment, sportsmanship, gratitude, dedication, drive, determination, and overcoming adversity than most people learn in a lifetime. You’ll spend more time together as a family than you ever dreamed possible. Enjoy every second, because even that 20-hour drive home that never seems to end will soon be a distant memory.
When you look at your boys a decade from now, you’ll burst with pride at the young men they’ve become. And you will look back on the ups and downs and twists and turns, and not regret a thing.