Tuesday, May 22, 2012

learning to ride

Teaching my child to ride his bike is something that I have pictured deep in the back of my mind. I imagined that it most likely would be my husband since he has a better way of explaining things to Rowan. We tried teaching him at the end of fall last year but he just wasn't quite ready for it all. We were about to get around to teaching him this spring again when something unexpected happened. He went over to a school friend's house for a play date and by the time I picked him back up he could ride without training wheels. End of story. Well... not quite end of story. When I picked him up from his play date he enthusiastically announced that his little 5 year old friend had taught him how to do it. Of course, I praised him and grinned ear to ear playing into his excitement. I was so proud of this big accomplishment!! It was such a joy to hear that Rowan had done something so major. But as soon as the car door closed and we drove away from his friend's the tears came rushing in unexpectedly. I was shocked that all those images in my head of chasing him holding the back of his seat would never happen. I was trying not to cry, and frankly I wasn't even sure why I couldn't stop the tears. Then I realized why I was  sad that those moments I pictured of him yelling "DON"T LET GO YET..." where not going to happen. And that those words meant a lot of things to me. They meant that Rowan was old enough to do a lot on his own now and that he really doesn't need me to hold on to him so tight anymore. It meant that my little baby was now a boy who was finding his own way in some perspective. I wasn't ready to admit that to myself just yet. I wasn't ready to let him go off and learn on his own. I wasn't ready for him to be brave and stop needing me. I truly was proud and happy, but I was a little shocked as well.

When we got home I was secretly hoping that they were exaggerating his skills and that maybe he really couldn't do it and he would need me after all. Selfish I know, but I never claimed to be otherwise. Well, when we pulled into the driveway Rowan was ready to put his new skills to the test. Sure enough, he could do it! All by himself. He wasn't perfect by any means and I was nervous every time his foot made another rotation, but he was riding without training wheels! He was so proud. He was so BIG! He did need a few pointers on how to start and stop and how to make a turn without running into the grass, but he didn't need a full lesson nor did he want one. It hasn't even been a week and he is riding as if he never had training wheels on. We are so proud! I  know that this isn't the last time that he will learn something on his own, but I think it just made reality set in that he is getting bigger and that there aren't as many moments where he needs us. So I will soak him all in while I can, and when he doesn't need me I will promise to be his biggest cheerleader (even if it means doing it with tears in my eyes.)

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