A couple years ago, Bo bought an ATV. And then a buggy. And then another ATV. And another buggy. (Okay, I don't really know all that is in the side yard -- suffice it to say we have a few of each.) He was excited; he had talked for years about wanting them to ride with the kids. I pretty much stayed out of it. He & the kids have gone riding tons of times since the first one was purchased, and they all had a blast. For some reason, I steered clear.
Until a month or so ago. Last August, Bo and the boys took a camping trip with a bunch of buggy enthusiasts Bo met online. They had a blast, but I still wasn't interested. This year, we have the RV and Bo asked if I wanted to go. I agreed and we went as a family.
We arrived in the evening, and in the morning Nate asked if I wanted to go for a ride. I climbed into the 2 seater buggy and let my 11yo drive me out on the Cinders. (really amazing area near Flagstaff that is covered in volcanic cinders that makes it great for driving buggies & ATV's.) He hit the gas and took off! We flew over bumps and hills and I couldn't stop laughing. It was an absolute joy! The harder I laughed, the faster Nate drove, and later I heard that Bo was getting a bit concerned when he saw how fast Nate was driving. There was no need to worry, as I was having a blast, but he couldn't hear me laughing.
During the weekend, I rode a few more times, and I drove a few times. It really is fun, and I'm looking forward to the next time we head out. The video above is one of the rides I took with Bo.
While riding, it brought back a vivid memory of my Dad. When I was little (I'm thinking 3 or 4?) my parents took me to a small amusement park. There was a roller coaster and my Dad and I took a ride. Looking back, I'm sure it was one of those small, kiddie, roller coasters -- but to me at the time it was pretty exciting! The roller coaster had sharp curves (as roller coasters do!) and I was convinced for years that the only reason the car made those turns was because my Dad was driving and controlling the little car. I don't remember ever talking to anyone about it, but I knew that I was safe and I remember thinking at the time that I wouldn't ride with anyone but him since I knew he would keep me safe. It was a great memory to have.
Today is my Dad's birthday. He would have been 65 years old. Nate served at Mass this morning, and the homily was about the kind of legacy people leave behind. While it brought many tears this morning, it was also fitting for the day.
I guess I'm not sure what kind of legacy my Dad hoped he would leave behind. But I do know the legacy he left. He left a legacy of loving your family passionately and unconditionally. He left a legacy of romance towards my mother. He left a legacy of learning and curiosity. He left a legacy of always doing your best and trying your hardest. Above all things, he was guided by love. And, I think that's a pretty amazing legacy to leave behind.