When Being Tough Can Be Cool

Night riding: be visible.

A few weeks ago, my son ended up hanging out at a friend’s house longer than planned, which was fine until he had to ride his bike home.  “Can you pick me up?”

“No, but I’ll bring lights for your bike.”  When I got there, he argued that it would be much easier to put his bike in the car, but I wanted him to ride his bike home.  He flat out refused the head and tail lights so I went to Plan B:  drive home behind him so that traffic would see my headlights on him.

The dude knows how I feel about bicycle safety.  I complain every time we drive by someone who rides without a helmet, through stop signs, doesn’t have a light…  Since that night when he was mortally embarrassed by Mom’s driving home behind him, he has been careful to get home before dark.

Until today.  He and a group of friends were out, lost track of time and were near busy-ish streets.  One mom and I realized that they would be riding home in the dark and started texting.

Mom: I might just head over and pick them up.

Me: There are too many bikes (5).  Some of them still need to ride.

Mom: Yup.

Me: I have headlights.  I’ll meet you down there.

I had four lights.  One came from the Energizer Night Race a few years ago, another from the Trek or Treat Race, and two others were won as prizes.  Fortunately, one of the boys had a headlight on his bike so we actually would end up with each kid being visible, as long as there wasn’t a battle about lights not being cool.

I was slow getting out of the house (after all, I did have to make sure that the batteries were working) and, when I got there, my son must have known what was coming because he ran to me and asked me to wait in the car.

“Um, no, I have lights so you boys can ride home.”

The youngest in the group ran up to me.  “Can I, please, have a light so that I can ride home with them?”  My guy gave in and I looked at the older boys.  “Here’s a headlight for you,” I said, starting with one whom I recognized as a former student of my own school.

“No, it’s okay.”

“All the cool kids have them,” I sang.

Supernova Lights – by Road ID.

“Okay,” he laughed as he took one.  The fourth boy followed.  Then, I clipped the Road ID  Supernova lights onto the backs of the two youngest.

“Wow!  You’re the cool mom!” I was told.

Energizer headlights and Supernova (Road ID)

Success! Within minutes, I went from being told to wait in my car to being respected as the cool mom.  They took off, I followed, and when I saw how visible the posse was, I drove ahead to meet them at the house.

One of the boys, clearly visible on a dark street.

And I might have spied on them, just to make sure that they were still wearing them, and everyone was.  No one complained when they handed them back.  Instead, they thanked me and reminded me that I was cool.

 

Return of the short shorts

Last year, I wrote about my then 10 year old son, who exploded when I started to head to a yoga class wearing these shorts.  He threw out all sorts of comments from “Mom, your shorts need to be longer!” to “You’re too old to wear shorts like that!” Since then, like a 16 year old, I have had to sneak out of the house when I plan to wear my short shorts.

This week, I was able to use his uber-conservative, overprotective side to my advantage when he went to meet some friends at the park.  About 30 minutes later, I asked my husband whether he rode his bike.  “Yup,” he answered.  “Well, his helmet is sitting right here,” I complained.

So I did what any good mother would do.  I walked the dog down to the park to make sure that he got there safely.  But I also wore shorts, not my shorty shorts that he hates, but my slightly too large shorts that hang on my hips.  And I also wore a top that was just slightly too short so there just might have been a teeny bit of mid-riff showing.  I was barely in eyesight when the kid bolted in my direction.

“Hi, Mom!” he called as he approached me.  “What are you doing here?”

“I’m walking Zeda.  Where’s your helmet?”

“Oh….it’s home.  Can you walk the other way?”

“Well, I walked here to make sure that you got here safely.”

“Oh…”

“And if you ever leave home again without your helmet, I will walk to meet you again.  And each time, I will wear less and less because seeing my skin is nothing compared to seeing your brains all over the sidewalk.”

“Okay, I get it,” he laughed.  “Now can you walk the other way?”

That kid better not ever forget his helmet again.