I knew this day would come. I hadn’t put much thought into preparing for it as I’ve learned that preparing for the inevitable is a lot like trying to wash windows with a messy toddler nearby. It’s just a silly time waster.
The day we gave the sweet little toddler the shiny red glider bike and he wobbled around and crashed and cried, I knew the rumors were true; you really can’t stop these beings from growing up and they do it at a speed that is both uncomfortable and achingly points to our own mortality. His Gramma B gave him that glider bike and he kicked and scooted his way all over the driveways with it for two summers. It was scratched up, beat up and the tires were nearly bald by the time it was passed down to his little brother last summer. He was so proud to give it to him though. At first it took some coaxing. We had to assure him that the glider was for little boys like his then nearly two year old brother. His new glossy big boy bike, from Gramma C was for big boys like him. He warmed up pretty fast. Our one mistake was not removing the training wheels prior to presenting him with it. He had established astute balance from the glider and was ready to try the big boy bike but when we started removing the training wheels he threw a tantrum. The tantrum was disappointment, fear and utter dispair that his beautiful big boy bike was being disassembled. Because he recieved the bike with 4 wheels he really thought that it just had to had all of those wheels to be a whole functioning bicycle. So, all last Spring and Summer, he rode that bike. He road fast and hard and confidently. my husband and I were convinced that we had ruined his equilibrium and his chance and riding a big boy bike sans training wheels was over for ever. Dramatic, but, hey, he’s our first born. Everything about the first born is a little over the top.
Recently my Uncle sent us a photo of a tiny motorcycle that he had taken in trade for some product (he sells Snap-on tools). He gave us an open invitation for Hank to come ride it whenever he wanted. When we showed the photo to H.W. (Our oldest son) he was over the moon excited. The one caveat was that he had to learn to ride his bike without the extra little wheels. He agreed that he’d do it. And so the conversations and lead up began. This weekend we were presented with amazing weather and so my husband declared that it was time to remove the little wheels.
As I watched my husband hold the back of the little bike and the little boy hold on with confidence and fear my heart grew loud in my ears. My husband jogged a bit and H.W. held the handlebars steady. After a bit, his dad let go and he just kept going. There was no wobble, no stumble, no crash. He just sat up straight in the seat and pedaled in his brand new cowboy boots and road. I had anticipated it being more. I had imagined it being less. I thought it would be crashing and crying and scrapes and bruises. I thought I’d have time to prepare my heart for the jerk and ache of watching my first born, my baby boy, ride away from me with the most important facet of freedom in ones childhood. I just thought I’d have time to rub the sting out of my eyes before hearing him ride straight and true yelling, “I’M DOING IT! I’M DOING IT!”
The rest of the day was riding bikes. The original glider bike met it’s demise last fall when I ran over it with my unforgiving SUV. We hid it from our poor little W (our youngest son and middle Little). Their GrammaC had just gotten them bells for the handlebars and everything. Total bummer. Fortunately, I was able to find one on Lightning Deal on Amazon during Winter and, as my husband knew that removing training wheels would be a big deal and possibly overshadow the little brother, he assembled the brand spanking new red glider (same model) and presented it to our younger son. The two boys rode up and down the dirt driveways all day. They also slept like rocks.
Today, H.W. said to me that he will have to practice a little bit more before he can ride Uncle Shawn’s motorcycle but that he’s a big boy and practicing is how he’ll get better. My 4 year old that hides and insists he can’t do most new things has found something he’s passionate about and the world of scrapes and falls won’t stop him from achieving his goal. He’ll be a big boy on a motorcycle.