The Best Present I Never Wanted

It was Christmas time in the early 80’s.  I was in the basement garage taking the banana seat off of a bike that I was rebuilding.

As a young teen, I loved riding and working on bikes.  I was rough on them and broke my share of rims, forks and frames.

I always wanted a new Diamond Back or GT BMX bike.  These bikes were expensive.  If you combine the cost with my track record of repairs, it was a tough argument to win in my house. 

I had nearly given up on my parents buying me a BMX bike and then I noticed something in the corner of the garage.  I wasn’t the type of kid to snoop for presents because I did not want to ruin the surprise.  I decided to look anyway and pulled back the tarp.   I almost did not believe what I saw.

It was a brand-spankin’ new BMX bike.  I was ready to do a back flip.

It was still a week or so until Christmas, so I had to keep this under the radar.

On Christmas morning, we woke up, had a quick breakfast and started opening gifts.  When I was finished unwrapping, I asked my Dad if it was still in the basement garage.

He said, what are you talking about?

I said, the BMX bike I saw in the basement.

I could see from the look in his eyes that he felt terrible.  My Dad was storing the bike in our basement for a friend who had no place to hide it before Christmas.  He never meant for me to see it.  One of my friends was getting the bike that morning.

My jaw hit the floor. 

Initially, I was disappointed for myself.  Then I was happy for my friend.  It was weird.

Then my Dad said, “It’s Ok.  One year from now, you won’t care about bikes. ” 

And there it was.  The Christmas gift of a life lesson wrapped up with a big slice of the truth.  I took what he said to heart.

And he was right.  A year later and I was into motorcycles and then cars soon after. 

I learned that life (and Christmas) is not always about you.  Sometimes you get what you want, but mostly you get what you need.  And in the end, it’s Ok.

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