Image hosted by

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

My baby is home! Yay! Okay, so maybe at the age of 13, Lane 1 is no longer a baby. But, I am thrilled to have him home anyhow. I swear he grew at least three inches while he was on the road with his father. He looks so big now it's almost scary.

It was really hard being away from my son for so long. It was even more difficult not having him home on his first birthday as a teen. His homecoming made up for all of that and then some.

Lane 1 was in dire need of a new bike. He somehow made his other bike last for six and a half years, which is virtually unheard of. He really took care of that old bike. He learned how to fix certain things, oiled the chain and kept it clean. He wasn't much different than how his father is with his truck, constantly "working on it" even when nothing is officially broken.

I realized that this is probably the very last bike my son will have before he is driving a car. The thought of that freaks me out, plus it made me sad, really sad. I decided it was time the boy got a very cool bike for his birthday. I just didn't tell him the news.

A couple of weeks ago, when Mr. Lane's father was in town, he and I talked about Lane 1 driving in three short years. I told him my plans to get a really cool bike for the boy, which he thought was a great idea, "a) because he is a good boy, b) because he helps his dad with work, c) because he did so well in school, d) because he does all of his chores way better than his dad did as a child, e) because he took such good care of his last bike and f) because I am Grandpa and I can spoil him by helping you pay for it."

He gave me $100 toward Lane 1's birthday gift. Can you say bonus?

I was so excited that my father in-law jumped on the bandwagon for my son that I called my mom. Mom has given $50 for every birthday for all (19) of her grandchildren, which for years we've all told her that was way too much. She doesn't listen very well. I was calling to tell her how happy I was and to tell her about the cool bike I'd been eyeballing.

Not to be outdone by any California grandparent, my mother said, "I'll give you a hundred for the kid toward his bike too."

"No Mom. That's not necessary. You always give the kids way too much as it is. Mr. Lane's dad is rarely around come birthday time. This is more like five years worth of birthdays he is catching up for. Really."

"Make that $101," she said with an evil giggle in her voice.

A few days ago, when I was at my mother's visiting, she gave me exactly $101. We laughed about her outbidding for rank as favorite grandparent. Lane 2 chimed in. She was asking a million questions.

"What kind of bike? What color? Who makes it? How much is it? Will you need more than $201?"

Just as I was getting ready to tell her and my mom about the type of bike I'd already looked at, she said, "Mom, I'll pick up the rest, no matter how much it costs. I want him to have a really cool bike too."

I absolutely melted. My sweet baby girl wanted to help buy her brother a topnotch bike. How cool is that? I did try talking her out of helping buy the bike and said it could be another $100. Her response was, "That's okay, I got it covered."

Here is the child who claims to hate her "smelly brother," offering to pitch in a hundred bucks. I was amazed and damn proud of her.

I let her think I took her portion out of the bank and we went and bought the coolest bike ever. When we got it home, Lane 2 asked if she could decorate the bike. I thought, "Sure, what harm can that cause?" She went into the garage and came out with rainbow streamers and the purple and pink basket that was on her bike. She talked the salesman at the bike shop into giving her a set of rainbow streamers as a gag gift for her brother. Yes my little bargain shopper managed to get them for free and without me knowing.

Image hosted by

Lane 2 was beside herself giggling as she decorated her brother's bike with girly doodads.

Image hosted by

When Mr. Lane and Lane 1 finally made it home Saturday, we were ready and waiting to surprise him.

Image hosted by

After checking out the bike for a second, he ran up to me, arms outstretched and said, "Oh my God Mom! Thank you! Holy cow a Haro?! Man I can't believe you got this for me. Oh man!" and he hugged me with all his might. I squeezed back, breathing him in as we stood cheek to cheek. He really did get taller. A lot taller.

I told him all about his grandpa, grandma and sister chipping in to make his 13th birthday so special.

He looked at Lane 2 and said, "You really did that for me Sis?"

She shyly smiled back at him and said, "Yeah."

"Oh man that was so cool of you. And you know what? I already know what I am getting you for your birthday."


He said, "I can't tell you but it has something to do with something you have been wanting to get fixed for a really long time."

"The desktop? You're going to pay to get that fixed? Just for me?"

He smiled at her and said, "Maybe."

As the evening wound down I asked Lane 1 if that was the bike he wanted and he said, "Mom, you know how when you are looking for something, and you see something that is so insanely cool and think, 'That's so out of my league'? That's what this bike is. I couldn't have ever dreamed you would get me this bike. It's so much better and cooler than the one I was going to ask for."

I smiled at that teenager.