The real mission

I lied. We weren’t on a spider-hunting trip this weekend. We were visiting our granddaughter and delivering a bicycle. She took to it enthusiastically, and was pedaling all over her neighborhood with us chasing after.

“We” meaning the crotchety, rickety old grandparents, because Iliana’s mom is still recovering. Skatje has some titanium screws holding her tibia together and her patella is somehow secured in position, and there’s an awesome long vertical scar over her shin, so she can’t keep up. We contributed by bringing her daughter a rapid transport device and turning her loose. She was busy biking all over their apartment when we didn’t take her outside and point her at a sidewalk. I know, grandparents are just the worst.

Then we had to make the long drive back home — 7 hours each way! — and I got my usual reward. I got to stand around awkwardly while Grandma got all the hugs and sad farewells, because I’m the homely, repulsive, off-putting, superfluous male, the danger-even-if-not-a-stranger guy. At least I get to console myself with spiders.

Iliana was a natural, though. She’s going to bicycling across country to visit us (or at least, grandma) someday. When she’s 18, she said. She’s 5½ right now, she explained, so she can’t go that far, yet.


  1. crocswsocks says

    You know, PZ, hugging is a two-person activity, and either individual is permitted to initiate, especially among family

  2. birgerjohansson says

    5 and a half was when I got hooked on the unfolding Apollo program, an interest in spaceflight that is still ongoing.
    So if you stimulate her imagination she will be science & tech-curious forever.

  3. moarscienceplz says

    Iliana is getting so big! Maybe Grandma and Grandpa could get some folding bikes to carry in the car so they can keep up with her.

  4. birgerjohansson says

    Thinking back to what we did unsupervised at that age, it is surprising we didn’t get run over or fell in a river. It is a good thing her grandparents had time to come along.

  5. Pierce R. Butler says

    But you didn’t get her a pink bike ‘n’ helmet, but blue(ish) ones!

    Where does it say grandparents get to subvert gender identity that way??!?

  6. badland says

    That’s lovely PZ.

    I have two friends who vividly remember my oldest calling them “yucky old men” because they hit a faint emotional wrong note with her, and they were guys she knew quite well. Kids can never know where their comments will land in our hearts.

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