FIFTY GIFTS IN THE YEAR OF MY 50TH- 1st entry Dec. 25th, 2015
In October, I attended a Women in Development meeting at 8 am in Lawrenceville, NJ. At a table cluttered with scones and coffee, I was surrounded by smart and educated women, who, for the most part, are executive directors and presidents of non-profits. The topic was appropriate gifts for your organization. New to the scene and thinking, aren’t all gifts needed? I blurted, “Please tell me about a gift that would not be best for your organization.” Having run Hope Loves Company for five years on a very tight budget, I assumed all gifts are appropriate. We need gifts! The woman beside me politely answered my question with this scenario:
She began,”I have founded Trenton Circus Squad. If someone wanted to donate a couch, we would have to consider if we needed one or if there’s room for that particular couch. But if someone wanted to donate a unicycle, we’d say, YES! OF COURSE! We give them to our children when they graduate from our program.”
She was seated beside me. I had held the door open for her when she walked in and she needed something that I had.
“Got it,” I began. “And it just so happens that I have a unicycle to donate and can’t wait to give it to a performer and would love to do so for Christmas!”
The women all turned and looked at me. They wanted to know the answer to the same question: WHY do you have a unicycle?
My husband and I are blessed to have a son, Adam. He’s in the Army, in another country far from his mother, and I miss him. The unicycle hangs in the garage- waiting for a courageous soul to ride it again. I thought of Adam’s teen years and how we came to own a unicycle. Adam was not just an active boy – he was ALL BOY. When he was born, he weighed 10 lbs. 10 ounces and the congratulations sign out front declared, “It’s a TRUCK!”
I have always enjoyed sports and a good challenge but Adam and I were not necessarily on the same page when it came to certain challenges. I did not want to dress in camouflage and go swamp trekking. I did not want to shoot a bow and arrow at a living thing. I did, however,want to bond with my son. I started by wrestling with him. It was a great workout for both of us until he soon outgrew me and my skills and joined the wrestling team- thank God! Then I invited him and his friends to a challenge of jump rope. “Here’s a twenty for the person who can do the most jumps without missing.”
I believe I won.
We upped the ante by running in between (once around the yard) five sets of 100 jumps. He soon bored of this “fun” way to pass the time with his crazy mom.
The task to keep him entertained and out of young boy mischief (lighting matches, bee bee gun mishaps, accidentally strangling the dog by securing a Walkie Talkie around his neck) got trickier. So we bought him an 80 lb. heavy bag and boxing gloves and Adam and I began working out together. We got him weights, a flex machine, and a dear friend bought him a pull- up bar. All that stuff occupied a corner of our basement. Adam finalized the decor with a full size poster of Taylor Swift and various video games (which we limited).
But as Adam grew, he, like most teens, outgrew his mom time. We were planning a family party and I thought, let’s get a unicycle. The unicycle was a big hit that day, but only one person in our family took real interest in riding it – Adam. He spent hours and hours practicing. Months later, he could successfully ride the unicycle up and down our driveway without falling. It was so wonderful to witness him master that skill and the smile on his face was priceless! It was a unicycle for one -amazing son.
Soon it will be a unicycle for one more amazing child. I can’t wait to attend a session at Trenton Circus Squad and bequeath this gift to another curious child-one who is learning new talents and who will receive the unicycle as a gift for his or her accomplishments at the end of a performance. Learning to master a unicycle is much like finding your way as a teen. It’s overwhelming, scary, and challenging. You can be supported and cheered on, but in the end, it’s you and the journey and you do the riding. Adam gained strength, confidence, and balance from the unicycle. I hope it brings those gifts and many more to its new owner in 2016
From the Trenton Circus Squad:
TEENAGERS, KIDS, TRY THIS!
Do you live in or around Trenton? You can join Trenton Circus Squad. There is no charge. And it doesn’t matter whether you already have circus skills or not.
You will learn incredible feats, make new friends, and work with a team of others. You will perform for your community and teach skills to younger kids. Be warned: there will be a lot of fun and laughter involved!
For more information about Trenton Circus, go to http://www.trentoncircussquad.org/