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Bragging Rights

We did a lot of fun things over spring break, and spent as much time as was humanly possible outside and being active. We did little hikes, and had several day-long playdates at local parks, and practically spent the entire weekend outdoors on the farm.

But my favorite outdoor time was our Big Bike Ride.

We’ve got a lot of great jogging paths right near our house, and you can get on one and stay on it for miles without having to cross a street or deal with cars. So one day we decided to pack some snacks, get on the bike, and ride to a favorite park.

A few miles away.

Maddie had done this ride before, but it was a first for Cora, and let me tell you something, that kid is TOUGH. There were a few whiney moments as we got going and our legs started to get worked, but by the time we were halfway there all Cora could think about was how BIG a deal this was. By the time we got to the park, she was panting but managed to get out, “How many miles do you think that was?”

“I’ve actually clocked it before, baby, and it’s two-and-a-half miles,” I told her.

Cora sat up and pride washed over her whole body. “Two and a half miles, huh? AND I’m only six!” she said, before parking her bike and running off to play.

The girls played happily for a couple hours, shaky legs forgotten, until stomachs started rumbling. As we climbed back on our bikes Cora said, “Ok, let’s go home!”

“Oh, did I not tell you?” I asked innocently. “We’re not going home.”

“WHAT?” Cora thundered mutinously. “I’m TIRED! I can’t go even FURTHER!”

“I suppose we could go straight home,” I said reflexively, “instead of heading to Braum’s for lunch and ice cream like I’d planned.”

Braums it was.

Braums – think Dairy Queen – was a little bit out of the way, and along a heavy traffic street up a mammoth – I mean mammoth – hill. Cora led the way, and fought the good fight, but after a bit she had to get off her bike and walk the hill. We got there, though, and I reminded her there’s no shame in walking up such a big hill. Lunch and an ice cream cone refreshed the girls before the ride home, and all told we biked five and a half miles.

The trip wasn’t without minor incidents: Cora wiped out on a large stick, her bike falling heavily on her, and at one point Maddie couldn’t slow down enough and ran into Cora’s bike, knocking her off again. But every single time Cora got back up, scraped knees and bruises and all, and said, “I’m fine. Let’s keep going.”

I told you, my kid is tough.

Both girls were exhausted when we got home and went to spend quiet time alone for a bit. When Cora went to stand back up after reading a while, she learned her legs had stiffened up.

Had a bit of trouble walking.

Cora bravely put her ballet clothes on and headed to class as she was supposed to, but ended up having to sit down halfway through; her little body was just done for the day and the scrapes and bruises didn’t help.

I watched Cora sit on the bench up front, watching her friends and ostentatiously rubbing her sore legs. One little girl sidled up to Cora and whispered, “Why are you sitting down?”

Cora turned on her best thousand-yard-stare and replied, “I biked almost six miles today. You know how it is.” The little girl, suitably awed, backed away and began murmuring to other friends as Cora sat and pretended not to notice.

It’s ok – she earned it. Bragging rights, indeed.


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