I Would Have Died Happy
by Theresa Reichman
8:45. My eyes snapped open to realize that my daughter was late for school and my husband was late for work.
He groggily mumbled, “Personal day,” with a smile.
Before we knew it, we were up and at ‘em, ready to live the shit out of this rare day of familial freedom. With Scot working days and me working nights and weekends, times of togetherness that aren’t tarnished with some sort of obligation are sweeter than cotton candy. We quickly whipped up an itinerary. The main event?
Dropping the girls off at my in-laws and going on our first real motorcycle ride together since pre-parenthood.
Scot has owned three motorcycles in the time that we’ve been married. His affinity for cruising the open road has never waned. While I knew that I enjoyed the rides we used to take when we were a newlywed teenage couple, motherhood does things to ya. I soon realized that apprehensions were looming in my mind.
I arrived at my in-laws’ before Scot. I listened for the rumble of the crotch-rocket to no avail. I looked in the back seat. My sensitive dark beauty and my wispy blonde cherub stared back at me. Frantically, I fumbled for my phone and scrolled through the list of contacts until my eyes landed upon “Stefanie,” the girls’ godmother. I began hysterically punching at the letters on my phone and my eyes swelled with hot tears. My emotions were running amuck. I let them.
“I’m going on a motorcycle ride with Scot in a few minutes. I know I’m crazy, but just in case… Make sure the girls know how much I loved them. Tell Scarlett that I always dug the way she walked to the beat of her own drum, and tell Cecilia that her spitfire side will take her far. On their wedding day, give them each a dandelion from me, and when they have kids tell them that every moment I spent with them was the best moment of my life.”
I slipped my phone back into my pocket, gave my girls some love, and a few short moments later I slid onto the back of a Yamaha R6.
We bounced along back roads and I nervously laced my fingers around Scot’s torso. Whenever we took a sharp turn and the bike dipped a little too much for my liking, I’d swat Scot’s stomach and shout “CAREFUL!” above the grumbling engine. But then I let myself relax.
If I die today, my children will be raised by beautiful people who love them like blood. If I die today, I die happy. Enjoy this.
And suddenly, I did. There is an enchanting stretch of about 30 minutes where the road lies beside a river. It curves and curls, and has fluidity with the water that is wonderfully harmonious. We passed old wooden bridges and lilacs dangling from their branches, filling my helmet with their intoxicating scent. The warm wind rippled over my skin and shafts of sunlight streamed through branches and played on our backs. I don’t know if I’d describe riding a motorcycle as sensual or spiritual. Maybe it’s both.
We arrived at our destination safely. A progressive but quaint town right on the water with rainbow flags garnishing many shop windows and homes. Right as we were sitting down for lunch at the local brewery, I received a text.
“You’re going to be fine, but I absolutely would tell them all of that. In fact, I plan on writing it down just in case. It’s so easy to love them! Text me when you are home safe.”
And I had one of those moments where I knew we’d done the right thing. We picked the right people. We chose to pick godparents who would raise our children similarly to the way we would. We – of course – picked people who loved the heck out of our girls. But beyond that, we picked someone who could reassure us when we show a little neurosis but still let us know that if our neurosis turns out to be warranted, they’ll heed our wishes.
Yes. Parenthood does change you. It makes you think more. It definitely makes you worry more. But one day, when my daughters are mothers themselves, I hope that they are still balls-to-the-walls about living life. And sometimes that might just mean sliding onto the back of a Yamaha R6 and having a damn good time.