Dear Sam

Thanks for going for a ride with me today.  I know it’s been really hard for you to find the time to train for the Rally, and I know that these distances are still really hard.  (I know that, because after our 80km today, everything on my whole body hurts, and I can’t imagine your body feels any different. I don’t even want to talk about the place on my hind parts where I connect to the bike. Holy. Cow. I didn’t know my sit bones knew language like they’re throwing at me now.)

oakvillesign 2014-06-18

Thanks too, for being so good about being out with your mum.  I know you’re young and beautiful and hip, and I’m… your mother – and I know that there have to be some feelings about that related to the fact that I’m wearing spandex, and thanks for not saying anything at all about that.

sambench 2014-06-18

Thanks too, for the complaining.  I know you feel bad about saying that you’re hurting, and that it’s hard, but I don’t care how much you complain, as long as you keep moving –  and by goodness my girl, you do.  Know that I’m complaining too.  I’m just 46, and I keep it inside – but if I were one minute younger (and not your mum) I think there are moments where I would cry on the bike.  Thanks for not taking it that far.

mesamlunch 2014-06-18

One last thing – thanks for putting up with me.  It turns out that even though you are twenty years old and so capable,  when we are together, I can’t forget you’re my baby.  I appreciate that as I caution you over and over (and over) again about being careful and not getting hit by a car and watching out for that hole and call out to you about the gravel ahead… I appreciate that you take it all in stride, and know that there’s just something wrong with mothers.  It’s not that I think you can’t see these things, and I know you live in the world without me all the time, and that you’re fine. Just fine… it’s simply that I don’t know how to disengage the part of me that sees you, and sees possible danger, and just keeps connecting those things in a way that I feel compelled to warn you about.

samrides 2014-06-18

You’re a good rider.  Sorry about the gasping. Thanks for going on a ride with me.

You’re a crusher.



(PS.  See you in a week after the retreat.  Be a good girl.)

(PPS. I can’t tell you how proud I am that you’re the kind of young lady who would do this for a charity. You have no idea how many people your age wouldn’t spend their holidays this way. You’re awesome.)

61 thoughts on “Dear Sam

  1. That made me tear up!
    What a wonderful young lady she is, indeed. Mostly because of the way she’s been raised, I strongly suspect.
    Your parenting ability gives me strength to keep from leaving my kids on the roadside somedays and what you’ve said here about a mother’s protective instincts is spot on!

  2. Drop the pants! Reminds me of that chapter in the new book about Joe and his pants! (sorry, off on a tangent) I wanted to tell you how much I am loving the latest book. I’m reading it in small bits to make it last longer. I’m a fast reader, and want to savor your writing. I’m just finished the skunk story, which made me laugh, but it shouldn’t ’cause it just wasn’t funny at all. Joe and pants again in that chapter! 🙂 Ride on dear Harlot! You’re a mum and always will be. It took my four sons a while to realize that my being their mother just won’t go away. Love the book, and love the blog. Thanks for both! 🙂 samm

      • It really, really helps to go back and read the entire archives from Day 1 — repeatedly. None of it ever gets old. Of course, I’m 57 (what??? NOOOOOO!!) and at that lovely place in middle-age where I get an eagerly awaited book from the library and don’t realize until page 37 that I read it only 3 weeks ago …..

      • i finished the book and loved it! steph-i think you are being too hard on yourself. while i’ve never seen you in person, just from your picture i think you are beautiful. i’ve always wanted curly hair. sadly, even when styled, my hair is so straight it looks as if i ironed it.

  3. Pingback: Dear Sam | Yarn Buyer

  4. The entire team blows me away. Some of you because you are so young. Some of you because you are not so young anymore. All of you because you are riding a gigantic distance to help others. What could be better for the universe than that?

    • Maybe us blowing all their fund-raising goals right out of the water? Oh, wait ….. we do that anyway!

  5. O.K., you made me cry again. Why do we “moms” blurt out stuff to our grown children – even though we know better? Why, I ask, why?

    Good luck to your whole team!

  6. It makes me think of the old quote “Being a mother means having a piece of your heart running around outside your body.” You can’t just turn it off, this Protection Mode. Even when they are grown-up, successful human beings who can (and do) move 2,000 miles away and even pay all their own bills without you. Being a mother never ends, even when your own mom is so old, you have to start worrying about her! I tell you what, there’s more to love than meets the eye!

  7. Steph- as the Mum of three grown ladies, two of whom are older than you, I must say I love your words today to Sam. I must also tell you that these maternal feelings and behaviors will never change. And, the awe and amazement that you co-produced these amazing beings is forever yours to keep. Isn’t it grande? Be proud, because yours are pretty darn spectacular!

  8. My mother says that saying things like “wear a raincoat” as one’s child, of any age, heads out the door in the pouring rain is an “occupational hazard”. You can’t help it, you’re a mother. Another of my mother’s sayings is “you can divorce your spouse, but not your child”. Oh yes, and there is “once a mother, always a mother”.

    Carry on.

  9. Dear Sam,
    I know you’re a lovely, intelligent, independent woman with a well-developed, fully functional risk-assesment part of your brain.

    It’s just that we mums see blood everywhere — a veritable haze across our entire visual field — whenever our child is not wrapped safely in our arms.

    Like I tell The Hurricane and The Tornado, “There’s enough danger in the world without you going around looking for more.”

    Sorry. Can’t help it. The best we can do is try to keep our mouths shut.

  10. When my Nana was 93, she wrote to me to make sure that my dad (in late 60s!) was telling her the truth about his health. She was worried and “just had to ask”. So….. it never ends – that Mom thing is amazing!

  11. Your posts lately have hit every emotion! Often just what I need to read after the day I’ve had. Now I’m off to take a picture of mittens for a child in Russia and donate to the bike ride.

  12. Dear Sam,
    Congratulations. Yes, I know the rally isn’t over, but what you’ve done so far merits congratulations already. First, you’ve done this before, know what lies ahead, and are doing it again. Second, you’re showing several really wonderful traits in a human being– including two favourites of mine: selflessness and generosity. Third, you’ve got a great mother and are acknowledging that and doing her proud. Promoting a family’s finest traits is a great thing to do, both for your family and for the world around you.
    Thanks for being a great human being and doing the human race proud. It’s people like you who keep aliens from other planets from deciding that they should just send asteroids to explode our planets to smithereens. (Yeah, I just dorked myself out. But it’s on a knitting blog, so I feel I’m safe.)
    Best of luck with what’s to come, and congratulations for what you’ve already accomplished,

  13. Dear Sam,
    I only ‘know’ you through your Mum’s blog, but I’ve been certain you and your sisters are outstandingly awesome ever since you put sticky-notes all over your room, reminding yourselves of how you wanted to be as an adult. I bet you could check off ALL the reminders, whether or not you still have the sticky-notes! Thank you for that idea, which I’m implimenting now, in middle-age.

    Dear Stephanie,
    Holy carp, you and Joe have raised amazing human beings!

  14. My mom, at 88, still cautions me about stuff when I’m staying with her and doing stuff with her. I turn about and do the same with my kid, who is scant weeks away from his 21st birthday. Luckily, we can all take it in stride, help each other when it’s needed, and laugh when we realize how absolutely silly the two moms are being!

    • This bothered my about my mother after I had “grown up”. Now, with two grown children of my own, I completely understand and am willing to indulge her in ways I never would before. I hope my children do that for me some day.

  15. Yes, I do it to my kids too. Once a mother,always a mother, even though my children are fully grown with jobs and homes of their own. Your Sam is amazing, by the way. Now please go and have a nice soak in the tub with some Epsom salts, to soothe where it hurts, and then go enjoy a bit of knitting. Put an extra cushion under you before you sit down, dear.

  16. Dear Sam, my son is in his forties and I’m still the same way around him. I still throw my arm out when braking if he is in the passenger seat – and tell him to watch out for cars when walking in the parking lot. Some day, when your children are grown, you are going to call your mum and apologize for rolling your eyes at her when she was not looking.

    Dear Stephanie – some day she will call and you will have to keep your gloating all inside while you do the little dance.

  17. I love the paragraph that begins, ” One last thing…” That paragraph is a keeper-really hit home— hard.
    Thank you for putting it so eloquently.

  18. When I was about 30 years old, my mother said to me, “No matter how old you are, you’ll always be my little girl.” At the time I thought, “Oh, come on, get a life, mom!”

    Now that I am the mother of a 30-something, I know just what she meant. No matter how old your children are, you still worry about them. From my current prospective, that’s a good thing.

  19. I am proud of you both and taking on a challenge like this every year as it is tough but a great cause!

    Please note on bike seats you can buy ladies saddles and good bike shops will let you test them out. Please look for wider bike seat—-in today’s biking world no one should have to suffer!

    You both are doing a great job! Please keep up the hard work—such great role models!

  20. Amazing daughters we have. I know you are so proud of Sam. And I am proud that the two of you can spend time together for such a charitable event. Enjoy the retreat and come back refreshed and ready for the next ride along.

  21. How lovely, how funny! I’m also a mum of three daughters, they are a bit younger (3, 6 and 8), despite the age difference with your daughters I recognise the feelings you descibe.

  22. I have a couple of passions, one is knitting and another one is biking. I have not gone biking very much in the past years but you are an inspiration as is Sam! Tail winds to you!

  23. Thanks for wording the “watch out for…” mother thing in a way I can, at last, comprehend. I always felt insulted, patronized, etc. (why don’t mothers, or at least my mum, do that for a son as well as for their daughter?) and I really never thought it could be a love thing until you worded it in a way that makes it sound like love. It’s still patronizing, but the idea that maybe it comes from a place of caring rather than a critique could make it less difficult to bear. : )

    • My sons (18 and 23) get it too, even though they spend most summers without me in the wilderness, and the older one spent a year on a different continent. For me, it’s like curling; I know they’ll get there anyway but I want/need to get out my broom just to smooth the way for them.

  24. Sam and Steph,
    This whole bike ride thing is just awesome at any age. Giving in any way to a worthy endeavor builds great karma and puts you in great company. To give up your vacation time to do this Sam is truly a generous gift.
    Here’s cheering you both on. Have a ball.
    Epsom salts come in handy.

  25. My butt hurts just thinking about riding that far.

    My eyes are tearing just thinking about my kids and how much I wish my Mom was still here to call me up and harass me. Hold on, my son is calling . . .

    yep, he is eating his lunch. Yes, he will remember to put the bands back on his braces. No, he cannot go into the pool since he is home by himself. Yes, I understand that he is 13 and has been on swim team for the last four years. No, I don’t care. No, you cannot watch Die Hard because it is R rated and the last time I checked you were still just 13. Sigh. I love you. I love you, more.

  26. Another heartbreakingly truthful post, Stephanie – what Presbytera said – Sam will understand some day that it comes from a place of love and respect. Kudos to you both for such an awesome effort…

  27. It is so cool that your daughter is riding with you! I love following your blog. We have a few things in common, cycling and knitting!! Yay! I am also doing a 300 mile ride, mine is not until October (#MWBR2014) check it out on Twitter. Thanks for sharing your stories. I did donate to your ride, I know that really helps to get through those looonngg training days! God Bless. Hope

  28. So… I feel compelled to mention – though someone might have already -y’all match. And it’s utterly adorable.

  29. I hate crying – it’s so exhausting and here you go and made me cry. I’m a mother of a grown woman child and your posting today hit me squarely between the eyes. You stated what being a mother of a grown child feels like every time our daughters go out in the world. I can’t help but always but the “mother spin” into my conversation with her (Michelle). She’s my one and only and to boot she’s a T1D (Type 1 Diabetic – completely insulin dependent) and has to juggle her health every minute of everyday just to live a halfway normal life.
    Anyway thank you for sharing your life through your blog. It truly helps me on my lowest days. (smile)

  30. you guys (all of the YarnHarlot riders) are awesome, but a 20 yr old who CHOOSES to do this – way way awesome. May the wind be always at your back.

  31. My 18 year old says “Mom, you didn’t raise an idiot.” I say “As far as I’m concerned you’re still my baby and you always will be. And you got a concussion last year crashing your bike, so you will call me when you get there, so I’m not worried about you laying on the side of the road unconscious.”

    And he sighs and goes off. His 31 year old sister still calls me after driving home in the rain. (Why yes, she had a car accident when she was 17 in the rain. 🙂

  32. ” I don’t know how to disengage the part of me that sees you, and sees possible danger, and just keeps connecting those things in a way that I feel compelled to warn you about.”

    Yes. That. All the time.

    When you’re pregnant, they tell you all about motherhood as it relates to ‘having a baby’ and ‘raising a family.’ What they don’t tell you is that it never ends. And it doesn’t.

    “Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” – Elizabeth Stone

  33. This weekend, my husband rode the “200 on 100” in Vermont – 213 miles from the Canadian border to the Mass border on Route 100 thru Vermont, in one day, on a bike. I was his sag wagon. I worried the entire time and had to keep reminding myself “He knows what he is doing, he’s done this before…” so I guess my Mom-ness just can’t contain itself and I’m doing it to him, always telling him to be careful, watch out for that pothole, etc. Fortunately he is also very patient, like Sam! I guess it’s not enough to keep after the grown child, I need another outlet! Thanks for such moving words, for expressing so much for us that we can all relate to.

    • not exactly on topic but cute. this past saturday i was at the hereford inlet lighthouse maritime festival in north wildwood nj. a dear friend was one of the featured performers. when she was on stage, i knew she wouldn’t mind [she is also a knitter and helps out in a yarn shop from time to time] so i pulled out my knitting. another woman from the yarn shop sat next to me and pulled out her knitting. her boyfriend sat down next to her and pulled out his knitting. we sat there knitting through her whole performance and sang along with her.

  34. Even when I was 45 years old and my mom was in her 80s, she would still introduce me as her “baby”. I had babies of my own by then so I understood, and I do the same to my kids now, and they are OK with it because they are pretty smart and they “get” it. My mom is long gone, and I’m the oldest female in our family so I feel like everyone’s mom and go into nurturing mode at the drop of a hat. Nevertheless there are days when it would still feel really good still to be someone’s baby and be nurtured a little.

  35. I wish my (grown) children would join me on a ride, but none of them are at all into it. Glad you can enjoy time “in the saddle” with your beautiful daughter.

  36. At least you don’t have to apologize about the warnings about road conditions, even if you are her mother!! That is SOP for rides. When I am riding with my almost 20 yr old son, if he is in front, he does it without even thinking. After years of Overland bike tours, the last being a US coast to coast, with multiple 100(62km)+ mile days (118 was his longest, 190km), he has been trained to always point out hazards to the rider behind him. Always. He expects me to do it, too…even though many of the hazards don’t matter to me and my recumbent trike!

  37. What a wonderful and generous way for you to spend time together. I am sure an adventure for both to remember forever with a smile!

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