Melinda Eye Cooper
The Last Bike
I see the bike laying on the garage floor as I pull in. I slow down and stop before I bump it with the front of my car. My youngest son has decided this is the place to park his bike.
Its been there for weeks when he’s not riding it but I haven’t found it in my heart to complain. It’s been spray painted more than once and is almost used up.
I probably would have asked my two older sons (when they were still living at home) to move the bike and park it elsewhere. But not him. And not because he’s special or anything. It’s just that I realize this is the last bike.
He’s the youngest of our three boys so we’ve had quite a few bikes thrown about. They’ve been laying on the garage floor, thrown on the sidewalk, left in the middle of the yard and taken apart to be worked on, or tires changed - everywhere.
Next month he will turn fifteen and get his driver’s permit. He will become consumed with driving. I know this because of his two older brothers who have already left the nest.
Soon, he won’t care about his old bicycle at all. It will become junk in his eyes, and end up abandoned beside the shed where it will rust and collect spiderwebs.
My oldest son is getting married a week from today. I thought I’d be emotional about that but I’m nothing but happy for him and Megan. They're going to make a great married couple and I can’t wait to celebrate.
Instead, I find myself mournful over my youngest son hitting this stage of life. I can’t stop the tears as I grieve the passing of his childhood. It went by too quickly. He wanted to grow up and be like his older brothers. And that’s wonderful because they are good older brothers. I just wish I could turn back time and enjoy him again as a child.
So, I snap a picture of the bike. A reminder of a childhood almost gone and the last child almost grown.
And I don’t mention anything to him about better places to park the last bike.