Today is Mother’s Day. I’ll take my annual ride to Wind Gap, PA, to see my mom, Mary Claire Einfalt. I’ll pick up a plant and gently pack it in my top box. Mom loves flowers and has a bit of a green thumb. Every year she points out the flowers my siblings and I have brought her in the past that are planted around her yard.
The ride is a beautiful one. I ride through Nazareth, the town where I grew up, and then head north toward Blue Mountain Ski Resort at the top of a steep, twisty mountain road with great views. On the other side of the mountain is my favorite road to ride in this area, Smith Gap Road. I’m not sure how long it is or how many turns it has, but I’d estimate it’s about 10 miles and 50 turns. I’ve ridden it hundreds of times but never bothered to count. It’s a fantastic ride with no cross streets and almost no traffic.
I know Mom worries about my riding. She’s told me so on occasion, but I’ve never heard a word of negativity or discouragement. She knows I’m safe, as safe as I can be. I do that for her. All mothers worry about their kids. Sometimes they worry in silence, like my mother does, because she’d rather see me happy doing whatever it is I choose. “Life goes by so fast,” she always told me, and she’s always supported whatever it is I’ve chosen to do. Anything I’ve ever done right as a parent came directly from my mother’s gentle, quiet example.
A few years ago, I put her on her first plane when she and my sister Marylou flew to Haiti with a church group. She was terrified, having never flown before. I told her, in a rare moment when our support roles seemed reversed, “Mom, you don’t have to go, its OK,” but despite her terror she went. I remember that and many other examples she’s set for me over the years, examples that made it easier to decide to start riding motorcycles, easier to decide to market software, easier to try to write these posts and to choose to “follow my heart” as my mom so often told me. I heard it over and over growing up, so that’s what I’ve always done. When you look back from a place you’re proud to be, everything difficult you’ve been through starts to make sense and to seem somehow necessary to have gotten you where you are. I think that’s what Mom always meant when she said it.
So when I ride the bike over the mountain to see her, she sees me in full gear. The best I can do to repay her support and love is to be as safe as I can be. She’ll still worry, that’s what mothers do—but maybe a tiny bit less. After a visit, a hot cup of coffee, and a few laughs, she’ll walk me to Big Red, watch me suit up. I will hug her, we’ll exchange I love yous, and I’ll ride off over the mountain and back home. I’ll have spent the day riding and visiting the person most responsible for the person I turned out to be.
Mom can always tell from one glance whether I am in a good place or if something is bothering me. There’s no use hiding it from her so I don’t try. But on Mother’s Day, she need not ask. The grin on my face from the ride and the pride in my heart at seeing her give me away every year.