May 6, 2014 by Marj Hatzell
My kid is the luckiest kid alive, I tells ya.
This weekend we went to a community day at a local autism school. This is the same program that runs the summer camp Bug Boy attends. We had a nice, relaxing day of moonbounces, sensory activities, animals, and lunch. And there were raffles. Bug Boy loves himself raffles.
Twenty baskets or so contained the usual raffle items, such as gift cards, electronics, books, games, and toys. I gave the teenager ten dollars and said, “Here. Choose wisely.” The second raffle item out of the lot was a brand-spanking-new mountain bike. It was Bug Boy’s size. It came with a helmet! AND water bottle! It’s awesome, Mom! It was his signature color (RED!) and he wanted to win it. Or so he said constantly, over the course of the next two hours.
He hasn’t ridden his bike in months, partly because he outgrew it and partly because we’re still working on healing the nagging foot injury he ended up with in December. Leave it to Bug Boy (the luckiest kid alive) to have a birth defect and two bones that grew too close together in both feet, causing him to be flatfooted and have ankles that turn in. It causes pain when he flexes or points his foot and it impairs the range of motion in both feet. This leaves him prone to foot and ankle injuries. Which we aren’t surprised to hear, since this is the THIRD YEAR IN A ROW he has ended up in a boot or brace. He is also my child, which means he has the coordination of an empty tin can. Combine that with the grace of a typical teenager in the throes of puberty and you have an idea of how often we end up in urgent care or at the emergency room. They may be naming the new ambulance bays after us, I’m told.
Anywho, the bike. He had ten dollars, twelve tickets (6 for $5!) and he put five of them in for an MP3 player. Which is interesting, since he already HAS an MP3 player, but I digress. The other seven were carefully selected according to number and place gingerly in the collection can, as one does. He bounced up to me, beaming from ear to ear. “I’m going to win, mom! I put SEVEN TICKETS in there! I’m going to win that bike!”
This is where I got all parent-like. I explained to him that hundreds of people were there and every teenager there wanted that bike and no doubt put the majority of their tickets in. It was the coveted prize, judging by the amount of kids staring longingly at it while they filled out their tickets. But Bug Boy was unphased. He was sure of it, he said. He could feel it, he said. I once more repeated, “It sure would be nice if you won. Just please don’t be upset or disappointed if you don’t. Remember, it’s fun to try and we’re raising money for a good cause, ok?” He shrugged and we went about business, having fun and enjoying the perfect spring weather.
Towards the end of the event, Bugaboo clearly had enough of being outside with tons of unfamiliar people and made a beeline for the car. Since I can take a hint, I packed them up and headed home. We were a few blocks from our humble abode when the phone rang and I put it on speaker phone and the camp director said, “So, you’ll never guess who won the bike!”
And there was much rejoicing in the land of teenagers. And by much rejoicing I mean, “WOOOHOOOOOO! I WON! I KNEW IT! I GOT IT, MOM!”
Sometimes his overconfidence is a great thing, no?
While the teenager was at school yesterday, I picked up the bike. Last night, The Guy I Live With made sure there was enough air in the tires, helped Bug Boy adjust the seat, and off he went. Suddenly, the ankle problems from the past few months disappeared. So did Bug Boy. We didn’t see him for two hours, except for a blur as he whizzed by our house again and again.