I could hardly walk. And when I did, it looked as if I had issues. I almost wept at the sight of stairs. All because of a day of fun. See, for my birthday some months back I received a present. A two-wheeled present that reopened a door for this 40 year old and hearkened back to yesteryear when I was but a 12 year old in the peak of my awkward stage.
Once upon that time, we had visited some friends up in Cheboygan, Michigan and they had a little dirt bike that they let me ride while I was there. To this sheltered pubescent, it provided a new way for me to explore the woods I loved. In that time of my life, I pretty much lived in the woods behind my house–not like Tarzan or anything–but our five acres and beyond was my escape from the inside world at my house which was not exactly a utopia. I would get home from school and quickly change my clothes and either hike or cross-country ski or go to my tree fort. Anything to get out.
My dad got a huge kick out of me riding that little dirt bike and in my heart I will thank him forever for promptly hiring someone to build me a dirt bike of my own. In the meantime, he somehow got the guy building it to let me use a dirt bike. A little Honda XR-80. I have pictures of goofy little bespectacled me on my bike, and wouldn’t you just love to see that? No. Just no.
My own dirt bike never did come to fruition. And at some point a couple years later, I had to give the guy his back. My dad was not really the poster father of follow-through. But in the meantime, my dirt bike and I had adventures. I found trails all over my neighborhood and found a friend with a dirt bike and we rode every single day. Most likely drove my neighbors batty.
Fast-forward 27 years or so…my husband found me almost the exact bike. Seriously, what a guy. Though it is super fun, it doesn’t love soft sand on the trails as much my boys’ ATV’s do.
So this year, for my 40th birthday, I got a new bike.
Now this…THIS bike can handle about anything. It took us several months to make time to go riding, but last week, on a perfect fall day, we made it happen. We drove about 90 minutes to a trail system and played all afternoon.
And that’s why I could hardly walk. My thigh muscles haven’t been that sore since I rode waves on a Sea-Doo years back. It probably didn’t help that I rode like a crazy woman at crazy speeds. I don’t know what gets into me! It also didn’t help that I’m not 12 anymore.
Three days later, we had no plans, the sun was shining, and what did we do? Loaded the bikes up again.
Hair of the dog? Glutton for punishment?
Not sure which, but I’ll tell you, I sure am paying for it today!
But, I need to tell you something I am convinced of after all of that riding.
Every woman needs a dirt bike.
I’m not kidding. The whole time I was riding, I was writing this blog in my mind. Well, when I wasn’t belly laughing for the sheer joy of it or picking bugs out of my lipgloss. Why do women need dirt bikes, you ask? Because rarely do we just play. Even more rarely do we let ourselves play in the dirt. My family laughed out loud at me when I took my helmet off and revealed a face with dirt embedded in my laugh lines around my mouth. I kissed my husband with brown, dirt-covered lips and he loved it. I cannot tell you the last time I had so much fun. Just out-and-out, carefree, dirt-covered fun. I can hardly wait to go again.
And moms, your kids need dirt bikes, too. I mean it. They need to get outside and smell what fall smells like mixed with exhaust (probably the best smell in the world right after a baby’s breath). They need to put the remote control and the controllers down and learn how to use a clutch and to shift gears. They need to come home with dirt under their nails and all over their face. It’s healthy and fun!
It made me think about the different kinds of women we are, and sadly, the kinds of women we don’t often let ourselves be. We get stuck in patterns and ruts, and fall into the temptation of molding ourselves into images someone else made up for us to be, and then mentally self-flagellating when we somehow don’t fit well into that image.
I love getting dressed up. Whether it’s going on a hot date with my husband or getting my makeup done for a wedding. I love to feel put-together with a great pair of heels. I’m that kind of woman.
I love falling asleep on the couch and having my husband carry me to bed. It must be the little girl in me that longs to be taken care of and cherished. I’m just that kind of woman.
I love putting a meal on the table that nourishes my family. I love working on it all day until my feet hurt, but knowing that their bellies are full, their soul is somehow comforted and they are content. It makes me feel like I provided something important. I’m that kind of woman, too.
I love making music. I could sit at my piano for hours on end and just get lost in the beauty of a song. I am definitely that kind of woman.
I love being a wife. I love all that that entails. I love feeling like I am a good wife, and I know what that means to me. We all have our own definitions for that, but when I have succeeded in my mind, I really am satisfied to be that kind of woman.
I love, love, love being a momma. I love when my kids need me and when they really talk to me and when they say something that makes me feel like I did it. Like I did what I set out to do 22 years ago and became the kind of momma of which I had only dreamed. I absolutely love being that kind of woman.
And, I love flying a little recklessly along a 40 mile trail of dirty dirt with sand crunching in my teeth, my hair an absolute mess under my storm trooper helmet, belly laughing at the bumps that made me airborne with muscles so sore I can hardly stand when I’m done. I’m also that kind of woman.
And all of that deserves to be celebrated. That shape of me is what makes me, me! The things you love, the things you do well, the things you fail at–they make you the woman you are. And chances are, if I look at you, I’m going to be amazed at where you came from and how you got to where you are. And it’s more than a little likely that I might be a little jealous of your talent and your gifts.
So, I wish we could celebrate each other instead of comparing and judging and feeling either less or more than each other just because we have differences.
I really would like to be that kind of woman. Wouldn’t you?