My husband and kids got me a motor scooter for Mother's Day. I was absolutely floored. I'm the kind of mom who has always gotten a bunch of flowers and some homemade cards. Once, my husband snuck behind my back and bought me a silver necklace I had admired at the mall. But I have never, ever gotten a Mother's Day present like this. We got home from church about noon on Sunday, and when we pulled into the driveway it was sitting right there. "Whose is that?" I asked, wondering if we had a visitor.
"It's yours," my husband said. "Happy Mother's Day."
|Me and Sparky on our new scooter|
I have been riding around on my new vehicle pretty much nonstop ever since. I run a lot of errands in my little hamlet on the Hudson; about 50% of my trips involve just me, or just me and one child, and 90% of them take me no more than 10 miles from my home. This little motorbike is absolutely perfect for me. Not to mention that when the shock wore off, euphoria settled in. If you've never ridden on one of these things, I highly recommend it. It's the greatest antidepressant ever invented.
Yesterday was a gorgeous late-spring day, and I rode my scooter to Westwood, New Jersey (about a half an hour from my house, all on very familiar roads) to meet my mom for lunch. My route took me alongside a reservoir, across some railroad tracks, and through a beautiful wooded area. As I scooted down the main road in a little town called Harrington Park, the church bells were pealing. I arrived at my destination in a fabulous mood. I pulled my scooter into a metered parking spot.
A woman got out of the car next to me. She appeared to be my mom's age, or maybe slightly younger. She gave me a big smile and said, "I'm so happy to see someone else enjoying a scooter!"
"Really?" I said.
"Yes," she told me. "I have a disabled daughter, and she and I ride our scooters together. We even got motorcycle licenses together. It's a great thing for her - it gives her the sense of independence she needs and lets her get around on her own."
The lady told me her daughter was 36 and had Down's Syndrome. The daughter could not drive a car, because the radio and the passengers would pose a dangerous distraction to her. Nevertheless, she needed to be able to get around, and she needed to be in charge of her own transportation. The scooter, which has no radio, requires both hands on the handlebars and both eyes on the road at all times. It's the ideal solution for her. It allows her to get to work, to the grocery store, and safely home. Although a small scooter does not require a motorcycle license in our state, this lady and her daughter had taken a motorcycle safety course together anyway, because it seemed like a good idea to have some formal instruction, and they got their licenses together. Now both of them were hooked.
I listened to her story - the best story I had heard in a long time. I asked the lady a few more questions, like whether I had to park my scooter in a metered spot (yes) and whether she ever took her scooter on a divided highway (no, apparently forbidden). She then wished me a great lunch with my mom and drove away, waving merrily at me as I took off my helmet and got my purse out of the seat compartment. I stood there and watched her drive away until she was out of sight.
I thought about my perfect, beautiful daughter and her shiny new New Jersey driver's license.
I thought about how incredibly lucky I am. That lady thought she was lucky too. She was smiling as she drove around, happy to chat with a stranger. I wish I had gotten her name and phone number. I bet we would have ended up being good friends.
This gift I got for Mother's Day is worth a lot more than I initially thought.