It was at least two months before Christmas, when nine-year-old Almie Rose told her father and me that she wanted a new bicycle. Her old Barbie bicycle was just too babyish, and besides, it needed a new tire.
As Christmas drew nearer, her desire for a bicycle seemed to fade–or so we thought, as she didn’t mention it again. Merrily, we started purchasing the latest rage–Baby-Sitter’s Club dolls–and beautiful story books, a doll house, a holiday dress and toys. Then, much to our surprise, on December 23rd she proudly announced that she “really wanted a bike more than anything else.”
Now we didn’t know what to do. It was just too late, what with all the details of preparing Christmas dinner and buying last-minute gifts, to take the time to select the “right bike” for our little girl. So here we were–Christmas Eve around 9:00 p.m., having just returned from a wonderful party, contemplating our evening ahead–hours of wrapping children’s presents, parents’ presents, a brother’s presents and friends’ presents. With Almie Rose and her six-year-old brother, Dylan, nestled snug in their beds, we could now think only of the bicycle, the guilt and the idea that we were parents who would disappoint their child.
That’s when my husband, Ron, was inspired. “What if I make a little bicycle out of clay and write a note that she could trade the clay model in for a real bike?” The theory, of course, being that since this is a high-ticket item and she is “such a big girl,” it would be much better for her to pick it out. So he spent the next five hours painstakingly working with clay to create a miniature bike.
Three hours later, on Christmas morning, we were so excited for Almie Rose to open the little heart-shaped package with the beautiful red and white clay bike and the note. Finally, she opened and read the note aloud. She looked at me and then at Ron and said, “So, does this mean that I trade in this bike that Daddy made me for a real one?”
Beaming, I said, “Yes.”
Almie Rose had tears in her eyes when she replied, “I could never trade in this beautiful bicycle that Daddy made me. I’d rather keep this than get a real bike.”
At that moment, we would have moved heaven and earth to buy her every bicycle on the planet!
Originally posted 2012-02-02 13:15:46.