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B hoped for a son who’d share his love of motor sports. He went as far as naming his only begotten son, Ryder. (Be that as it may, I had tossed my heart in the ring and agreed to the name — given my propensity for the written word, his name felt charmingly à propos.) We’ve spent the last year and a half trying to find a sport that would spike his interest. This process has been akin to forcing a square peg into a circle. In fact, the quest to find “Ryder’s sport” has led to great frustration in  our household — especially for B.

Before you roll your eyes, while it is true that a 5-year-old is entitled to take his time before “declaring a major,” Ryder’s resistance to any type of organized sport has been disappointing. Telling B that not all boys are cut out for sports and suggesting that perhaps his sturdy son might be a man of letters has done very little to assuage his doubts.

All the while we’ve taken him to soccer, gymnastics, baseball, MMA, tennis and golf — Ryder has amassed a collection of matchbox cars and monster trucks that rivals Imelda Marcos’s shoe fetish. His cars spill out of his pockets, they are stuffed beneath his bed sheets, and they are annoyingly under foot when we walk barefoot in our house.

For some time now, B has built a case, stating Ryder is cut for some sort of racing sport: such as, motocross, go karting, or mountain biking. Really? My five-year-old son is destined to get his kicks on a race track? Why not in the library stacks, knee-high in chemistry books?

The need for speed and the wind in your face seems to be a running theme in B’s life.  He stopped only when, ahem, I was pregnant with Ryder and he fractured his back while riding a dirt bike. Apparently the need to grit your teeth against the speed and dirt, coupled by the sound of the exhaust screaming in the wind is a siren’s call to the men in his family.  B is addicted to it, his father is a motorcycle lover (in his 70s he purchased a scooter to get around!), and his father’s father pounded the streets of Barcelona on two wheels as well.

Now Ryder has answered the siren’s call. And while I’d once dreamed of a tennis racket wielding boy whose tennis supremacy would rule the courts of Wimbledon is slowly fading away; I am enamored with my son, enclosed in a steel cage and a helmet, just as well. But more than anything else, I’d hoped my son would inherit B’s charisma, fearlessness and intelligence — and that he has.

I pray his life behind the wheel is always safe.

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