The garage door opened. “Guess who’s starting and stopping on his bike without training wheels!” I had to smile. Dillon had made the full transition. We had taken off his training wheels a few weeks ago and he did a pretty good job of maintaining balance during his few trips back and forth across the basketball court that day. Jaden even went down to one training wheel, but neither of them spent any time on their bikes since that day, opting instead to race up and down the neighborhood on their scooters. They had just returned from a quick trip down the greenbelt on their scooters when Dillon asked to ride his bike. I had come inside for a few minutes and had no idea they were switching vehicles. It was a little bittersweet to hear that Dillon had once again gone beyond another milestone without his brother. “Where are the tools? Jaden wants his training wheel off!” Perfect.
I grabbed my toolbox and walked outside to see Jaden sitting on his bike at the end of the driveway. He was staring off down the street. “You ready for me to take off your training wheel?” I asked, beaming with pride that he was willing to take that step. “Yes. But first watch Dillon. Look how good he’s doing!” He was so proud. He watched Dillon make his way toward us from a few driveways down. Jaden had a satisfied smile on his face as he studied his brother’s progress. “Okay.” Jaden slid forward on his bike so I could get to his training wheel. I studied his body language for fear or apprehension and couldn’t detect any. He had made up his mind. He was ready.
Dillon rolled past… stopping and starting, weaving back and forth across the street, pedaling leisurely to and fro. He was pleased. Kendra and I shouted praises to him as he biked along. He came to a stop to watch Jaden begin. Kendra was the first to guide him out into the street and help him coast a few houses away and back. Then, I walked beside Jaden as he rolled into the street; holding his seat post and handle grip for balance and support. After a few cranks for momentum he was off. I jogged beside him offering encouragement, but my job was already done. He was riding. Dillon pedaled off.
I grabbed my bike and rode around between the boys. I showed them a few tricks about getting started from the curb. Kendra taught them to use the driveway inclines as a means of gaining momentum to start and also as a safe way to slow down when coming from the opposite direction. Bikes were laid down a couple times, but there were no crashes or injuries. They decided they were going to ride that day. And they rode.
I’m always blown away by the way they overcome challenges. I swear they must hold secret meetings in the middle of the night where they just sit back and talk about obstacles and strategize how to overcome them. They have a way of just appearing out of nowhere with a new way of doing something or with a new talent. There never seems to be a lot of trial and error… like when Jaden came running in from the backyard one afternoon to announce that Dillon just completed a back flip on the trampoline. We had talked about how to do one several weeks beforehand, but he never asked for a spot or guidance in getting it done. He started doing little somersaults from his back from time to time in what had to be some type of preparation to familiarize himself with the motion, and then once he had thought it through, he just did it. Jaden was that way with the front flip and with jumping rope. I need to find out about these meetings.
I had no idea they had been working through the bike riding process, but it had clearly been on their minds. As with the diving experience, once one had the breakthrough, the other was soon to follow. Kendra snapped pictures as we rode around the neighborhood. By the end of the evening, the boys and I struck out for our maiden ride. I’ve always been fond of bike rides… they are a great way to just be outside and feel free. Being able to connect my sons to that sensation was amazing. There was a point during our ride where they were really getting confident on their bikes and pushing their comfort zones. We were picking up speed, and the soothing hum of the knobby rubber tires on the asphalt and the steady shoonk… shoonk… shoonk… of the cranks and chains provided the soundtrack to our trek. I was teary eyed.
Like most of these such moments, this one ended all too briefly. I close my eyes and find myself back on that neighborhood stretch with my guys zooming along to the sounds of our rhythmic motion. This time, no cars turn into the community and cause us to pull over and wait. This time, no one is backing out of the driveway or waiting to pull in. This time we are just riding forward together dreaming of obstacles to conquer… I need to find out about those meetings.
Thanks for coming along for the ride!