The search for a new-to-us bicycle

Our boys have been sharing a bicycle. That worked well when one of them didn’t care about riding it, or even know how to. But last week the one who didn’t ride decided he was going to learn to ride a bicycle, so he did.

I don’t know exactly how it happened. I was no help at all. All I can say is that motivation is a powerful thing.

So we had one bicycle that fit two children and two children who wanted to ride it.

I don’t know whether you’ve priced bicycles lately, but they aren’t inexpensive. And our boys are growing so quickly! If we buy a new one this summer, we might still be buying two new bicycles next summer.

That’s a great problem to have. But I do love a bargain.

And we are on spring break from school this week, so we had a little time to shop.

So we set out to do some thrift store shopping. We hit Savers and two Goodwills. They had bicycles, but they didn’t have a boys’ bike in the right size.

Before the third stop, Daniel reminded me that we hadn’t told God what we were looking for.

We stopped and talked with Him for just a minute. “God, we know many people have many problems, and this is just a little thing—but it’s a big thing for us. Our boys would really love to be able to stop sharing a bicycle and go riding together. And if we can’t find a bicycle today, can you please help us not to be too disappointed.”

We didn’t find a bicycle at the third store, but the most amazing surprise was that we stayed on task. We bought one comic book and one board game—Apples to Apples!—because we were so focused on our mission.

Every time we came out of a store without a bicycle, I would say, “Well, there is another place we could try,” and the boys would say, “Let’s go!”

That might not sound like a miracle to you, but usually we wear out long before that. We ended up hitting five stores in a row, finally finding the bicycle at a children’s consignment shop in Cockeysville. It even has a kickstand.

Now we have two boys and two bicycles and two bicycle helmets and a new love for bargain shopping. Not bad for a beautiful spring afternoon.

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner is a wife, working mother and author of the Catholic Review's Open Window blog. She and her husband adopted their two sons from China, and Rita often writes about topics concerning adoption, family and faith.

Rita also writes The Domestic Church, a featured column in the Catholic Review. Her writing has been honored by the Catholic Press Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Associated Church Press.