I am fortunate to have many wonderful childhood memories, but one of my favorites to reflect on was the Christmas when I got my purple bike.
We lived in a warm climate and a safe neighborhood where kids often peddled around from dawn until dusk. I took full advantage of that freedom and would spend hours and hours exploring on my bike. Eventually, I outgrew all the bicycles I had inherited or that had been handed down to me. Without wheels, I was left to my day dreams. At that time, the really cool bikes were the ones with banana seats and a bar on the back. I wanted to be that cool! I envisioned myself on a purple cruiser, a beacon of cool amongst my pals.
Christmas morning came and went. Gifts that had been lovingly selected were unwrapped and genuinely appreciated. But there was no purple bicycle. No banana seat. I understood that a bicycle was a big wish and that wishes didn’t always come true.
About that time, I started hearing my friends from the neighborhood heading outside to play. Almost everyone else had a new bike that year, so my disappointment grew, despite the happy morning.
It wasn’t long before the morning festivities wrapped up, and my parents asked me to take the bags of wrapping paper and boxes out to the trash cans in the alley. Obligingly, keeping my disappointment as hidden as I could, I headed out around the corner of the house.
And there she was.
As I approached the back gate, there locked to the clothesline post was a brand new, purple bike. With a sparkly banana seat. And a giant bow.
I dropped the trash where I stood and ran to hug my parents, who had snuck out behind me to watch my discovery, in stunned disbelief.
I think that’s the first time I cried with joy, because I remember tears feeling sweet. It was a perfect gift, and a perfect moment.