By David Kaufer
Parenthood (and life for that matter) are full of memorable moments that make the process that much more rewarding. Whether it’s a first step, word or trip to the zoo, there are those magical experiences that we never forget.
I was lucky enough to have one of those moments on Sunday with Ty.
When he and Stone were babies and through the time they were toddlers, I used to take them running in our twin baby jogger a lot. It was a lot of fun hauling them around Edmonds, Green Lake and the Burke Gillman trail. But when they outgrew the jogger two summers ago, I was really bummed that I didn’t have the built-in means to have them join me as I attempted to remain active and stay in shape. Going out for runs has been a lot more of a challenge since then because weekdays are so full before and after work and then on the weekends, Stone has been known to have a melt down or two once he’s discovered that I’m out for a run so I’ve felt a little handcuffed.
But on Sunday we had a nice mild February day (temperature in the 50s and no rain) so I had the idea of going for a run again on the Burke Gilman trail and bringing Ty with me – and having him ride his bike alongside. I asked him if he wanted to come along and he wasn’t too keen at first, but reluctantly agreed to at least go to a park with me (that was the first step I figured).
When we arrived and parked, Ty initially got cold feet again and said he didn’t want to ride his bike with me – he just wanted to play there. I held his hand and led him to the trail as I carried his bike and encouraged him to just ride a little with me and see how it goes. He cautiously started pedaling and I jogged next to him and reminded him to stay close to me on the right side of the path so other bikes could pass us. Once other bikes started passing and he saw other joggers and cyclists pass us from the other direction, he really started having fun and relaxed a lot more – until he accidentally turned too sharply and suddenly wiped out in front of me. The tears and crying came instantly and he was ready to turn around and head back to the car. But I held him and told him how great he was doing and then I said that when I was a little boy I used to fall off my bike a lot too. And he stopped crying and started giggling a little. So I went on to tell him that I fell a lot and would bleed all over the place too (for some reason little boys love blood stories). That won him over and he was laughing again and ready to continue our ride.
As we rode/jogged towards Bothell on the path, we heard a passer-by yell “Go Ducks” to us (I had on my Oregon t-shirt and cap). Ty has a mischievous side and learned long ago that Daddy is NOT a UW Huskies fan. So he started yelling “Go Huskies” to cyclists passing us – just to try to get my goat. I was laughing so hard – it was fun to see his personality on display like that.
I told him our goal was to go up to the golf course and then turn around and head back. It was about 2 miles from our car to the golf course so I figured this would be a good distance for us to cover if we made it – and we did so with no problem. Ty was very chatty the whole ride – which made the workout that much more challenging for me as I tried to maintain a conversation with him while keeping up with his riding.
Ty did great the whole ride – he would occasionally veer to the left but I would remind him to stay right and he would veer back over without a problem. And he was his usual friendly, outgoing self with everyone on the path. When he wasn’t yelling “Go Huskies” he was greeting people saying “hi there” as they passed. It was incredibly cute and fun.
When we got back to the car, I told Ty how proud I was of him and I could tell he was also proud of himself. It was a really special experience that I know we’ll do many times now in the future – but I’ll never forget this first time.
Read more: http://myedmondsnews.com/2011/02/edmonds-kind-of-dad-treating-autism-how-do-you-know-what-works/#ixzz1EBw6HwQF
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution
David Kaufer is a fun-loving Super Dad of 5-year-old twin sons, an insane Oregon Ducks fanatic (follow him on Twitter @DavidKaufer), advocate for green/sustainability and autism issues, and connoisseur of Northwest microbrews. He and his wife Renee moved to Edmonds in 2005 to raise their family (and enjoy the gorgeous views).