A female road cyclist rides her bike under an overpass on a sunny day.

My Mother’s Day tradition connects me to my truest self

I like spas, chocolate, and breakfast in bed as much as the next mom. But for me, on Mother’s Day, it’s all about the bike.

My Mother’s Day tradition started three years ago. My youngest was just over a year. It was that glorious post-newborn time when life starts to feel less foggy. He slept through the night more times than not, and he was no longer solely dependant on nursing. I had finally graduated from being in a state of constant on-call exhaustion!

Leading up to the big weekend my always-thoughtful husband asked if there was anything I wanted to do. My mind went immediately to my bike. I feel closest to my true self when I’m in the saddle pedaling through the kilometres.

Perhaps it’s because my first taste of adventure travel was cycling between canyons in Utah at a time when my life was in so much upheaval it resembled a country music song.

Or perhaps it’s because I met my husband while cycling across Canada and with each province we crossed, the flirtatious summer romance deepened until I found myself in Newfoundland not wanting to leave. Whatever the motivation, on my bike I’m confident, exhilarated, challenged, and just a wee bit scared. It’s the place where I feel the most me.

So when posed with the question, “What would you like to do for Mother’s Day?” I knew in an instant.

I wanted to head out on my bike with no time constraints. Because the best adventures don’t happen on a schedule, they need space to roam and time to explore.

So that’s what I did. Compared to my pre-kid rides, it was a small adventure, but being given space and time to head out on my bike with no agenda or defined route connected me to the cyclist and adventurer I am at heart.

This will be my fourth annual Mother’s Day ride and with each year I worry a little less that spending such a large part of the day on my own doing exactly what I want is too selfish. I want my boys to be confident making the things they love a priority. And understand that sometimes doing what’s right for your heart takes you away from the usual roles, responsibilities, and expectations others have for you, and that’s okay.

Of course, I’ll deny that vehemently the first time one of them tells me he’s moving far away to pursue his dreams. But for now, I’ll lead the way, on my bike, climbing until my legs scream, descending fast enough to take my breath away, and stopping when something catches my eye.

And when I return home to homemade cards and sticky kisses, both my heart and soul will be full.

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