The best medicine

This past Friday was “Grandpa & Me” day. They dropped off my grandson with his push bike, which I put in the back of the car.

We drove a short way down to the mall and walked around. He found a bug on the pavement and picked it up. It was a dead bug. He squatted on his haunches and looked at it. Then he set it carefully back down on the pavement and stood up, looking at it, waiting for it to move. It didn’t. He squatted down again and nudged it with his finger but the dead bug still refused to move. He stood back up and then squashed it with his foot. That was a double-dead bug.

We walked around the corner of the Rite-Aid towards the Starbucks. There was a long, narrow planted area. He walked off into it. Too late, I saw it was planted with young roses, bursting with thorns. Somehow he didn’t get scratched. I hurried to grab him but we were obviously playing chase. He ran along the edge of the planted area, stumbled, and fell into the warm dirt.

I brushed him off. While I was brushing him off he saw a red berry and picked it up. He moved it around carefully between his fingers. It was smooth and bright red. He put it up to his nose, moved it down towards his mouth, then looked at me.

“Better not,” I said.

I reached down for the berry but he claimed a Pyrrhic victory by crushing it between his fingers. Clear juice with tiny seeds ran out. He spread them onto his palms and then onto his shirt, where they mixed in with the remnants of the dirt.

After walking around the mall we drove up to del Cerro Park. I took out his Strider push bike. He jumped up and down, so happy was he to see that I’d brought it along.

He got on the Strider and raced away. The sidewalk was slightly uphill. He pushed and ran-swam his little legs until the top of his head was covered in sweat. Then he turned around and pushed and ran-swam back down the sidewalk, wheeing and laughing.

As he got near me, I spread my legs and he shot between them. “Through the gate!” I yelled. He laughed gleefully, raced along for a little, then turned around.

“Through the gate!” I said again, and we did it over and over, so many times that I lost count and he was tired. He pointed his bike for another run, got up to speed, lost control, and had his first bicycle-falling-off incident. He fell slowly to the side, came off the bike, and did a little half-roll. The second he stopped rolling, he started crying.

“Oh, no!” I said, scooping him up. He was unscathed on the outside, but the inside needed a lot of hugging and cooing. I had brought ample supplies of both in the diaper bag. He did one more run but it wasn’t fun any more.

We got back in the car and returned to the mall, which has a Baskin-Robbins. He got a single scoop of vanilla that was almost as big as his head. But what he really liked was the chocolate-covered cone with the colorful sprinkles.

Best medicine for a bike fall, ever.

END

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