Today, my girl learned to ride her bike without training wheels. It was an amazing moment. Her joy is indescribable, though if any of you have a child who wanted something so badly they fought through tears to get it, you might know. I will look fondly on this for years to come.
It all started a few days ago. My husband decided it was time our seven year old learned to ride on just two wheels. Time for her to learn to balance and take that next big step into growing up, accomplish that thing nearly all kids do in these sweet, young years.
Little Miss wasn’t quite as enthused, but she was a good sport and tried a few times to gain her balance with Daddy’s help. I think fear, frustration, and general emotions of being overwhelmed got the best of her (and Daddy), and we decided to call it a day. We’d try again. I honestly thought it would take days and days of practice, coaxing, and encouraging before she’d be on the two wheels with no support. I was so wrong!
Today, she insisted upon riding her bike to the park, without training wheels. I lowered her seat, hoping she could learn to balance. Have you seen the bikes for toddlers, that have no pedals and no training wheels? It is like a sitting scooter, and when the child is ready, they left their feet, balance, and coast. Those bikes inspired the decision to lower her seat and hopefully give her a sense of balance. Before, she always leaned to the left, compensating for the bike tipping right onto a training wheel. The girl needed to learn balance!
Well, she scooted all the way to the park, and half way home. On the way home, she wanted me to support her while she pedaled. It is hard to balance a bike with a child on it while it moves! I tried to show her how to keep her body straight. She cried. I tried to hold her steady, she tipped and cried. We’d go about eighteen inches, she’d get frustrated and cry. I told her she could just walk her bike home and try again another day.
“But I want to pedal!” she’d say through her tears of frustration and determination.
I’ve learned in the last few years to stay as calm as possible through her emotions, so I had on my straight face, strong heart, and supportive Mama hat. This was a pivotal moment, to let her keep riding, tears and frustration and determination all mixed together.
“Ok, I will keep holding you while you get your balance.”
We did this for about five minutes, then she insisted that I let go.
I didn’t want to. She wasn’t keeping her balance. I let go, expecting her to fall over. Sometimes we have to fall to learn…
She was off! She didn’t even realize it, but she knew it. I ran along side her, in case she fell, but she was solid. She was riding, she was fast.
“This is so fun!” she shouted in a most delighted and joyful giggling voice.
My mama heart swelled with more pride and excitement than it has felt in a long time. And my girl kept laughing, shouting with joy, going over and over again on her bike. It was awesome.