As there was another post about family last week, and with Father’s Day coming up quick, I came to this.
I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We moved to Longmont, Colorado when I was 12. My parents have lived there the past 18 years. After moving to Seattle in 2000 to attend UW, I’ve bounced around from Seattle to Orono, Maine to Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Longmont, and finally, a little over a year ago, back to Seattle.
Through all of this, my brother and I have often suspected that we were adopted. It’s not so insane to think that, if you only see my brother and me. He’s fit, plays soccer, hikes, bikes, works as a geologist, and is generally an outdoors person, with blond, curly hair and a gout foot. I, on the other hand, could stand to tighten up the waistline, having spent too many years in collage reading and writing, watching movies, listening to music, and generally leading a bit more a sedentary life, with a novel and half a dozen short stories, along with a 1000+ book library to show for it. I can camp and hike and paddle with the best of them, of course, but I prefer a comfortable chair, a good book, cup of coffee, and some sweet jams.
Our parents, however, are….unique. Currently, my mom and dad are riding their bicycles from outside L.A. to Seattle through the Sierra-Cascades. They’ve hit Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, with a few others sprinkled in. They carry everything on their bikes: tents, cook gear, clothes, extra bike equipment, snacks and the like. They have between 35 and 55 pounds on their bikes, and are climbing mountain passes and crossing bear tracks and riding in the rain and generally kicking butt and taking names.
This isn’t their first bike trip. My dad started this back when he was working, taking a week off in the summer to get out on his bike, and usually he was joined by friends and my mom. When my dad retired, they did a trip from the boarder of Canada to the boarder of Mexico. Took 45 days, with only three rest days. Then, two summers ago, they rode from Virginia to Oregon. Across the dang country. I mean, who does that? Certainly not my brother and me.
And that’s not the end of it. My mom runs marathons, and for her 60th birthday, she wants to run the Paris Marathon next April (she turns 60 in February). She usually runs two marathons a year, and spends the remainder of the year training. I’ll often call them on Sunday and ask about the weekend. The response: We had a great weekend! Mom ran 15 miles, and we also went on a 75 mile bike ride!
Wow. Thanks guys. Way to make me feel active.
Needless to say, my brother and I run a few laps around the track, and we can ride our bikes to the store. Adopted. We have to be.
Of course, once we actually start talking, and the Minnesotan accents start piling up, and the stories come out, there’s no way anyone would think we’re adopted. But still. But still.
As my dad posts to his blog about the current bike trip, and I see his writing, his view of the world, exploring and observing and contemplating, I know there’s absolutely no way I’m adopted. My brother, on the other hand…where the heck does he get that awesome, curly blond hair?
What it comes down to is this: my brother and I didn’t choose our parents, and while there were many crying temper tantrums as little kids when presented with the opportunity to go on a long bike ride, or hike some crazy mountain, the things my parents do are exactly what made me, well, me, and my brother, you know, my brother.
Despite all that, I still think I’m adopted sometimes. But in all honesty, I wouldn’t have wanted any other family than the one I’ve got. Even if their idea of ‘fun’ is to ride their bicycles for two months straight through high mountain passes and narrow roads.
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