This week, I took Friday off to spend time with Lewie on his April vacation. We brought his bike out in our driveway, and he practiced coasting from the top of the driveway to the garage. On his fifth try, I saw a transformation. The kid that was once using his feet to steady himself was now coasting with feet up--fully confident with his new skill. "Let's try again," I'd say, excited to watch his progress in such a short time.
On Saturday, yesterday, I instructed my husband to put Lewie's pedals back on: "You're probably not going to believe this, but Lewie's ready to ride. I just know it." I had Lewie demonstrate his new skill in the driveway, and then we went to our town's rec center where he would have more room to pedal.
At first, we started out in the grass. We'd push Lewie as his feet were on the pedals, and Daddy would run with him, holding the back of his seat for support. After a few tries in the grass, Lewie was ready for pavement. After a short while, it was clear that Lewie was riding on his own, but my husband just wouldn't stop holding onto the back seat of the bike. "Lew, let go!" I commanded. I repeated myself again and again.
Then, my husband, tired from all the running with Lewie, wearily let go of the bike; Lewie was, in fact, riding on his own! "Look, you're doing it," we cheered to Lewie. "You're riding on your own without any training wheels!"
It was a magical moment. So magical that we didn't want the riding to stop.
There have been many milestones in Lewie's seven years--first word, first step, first day of school, etc. In these milestones, we cheer. We get excited. Sometimes, we even brag. Then, for a brief moment, we also lament. This new skill is another step toward independence--another action that doesn't need Mommy or Daddy. It's scary to "let go." I know what my husband was feeling..."What if I let go and he falls?" "What if I let go, and he doesn't need me anymore?" Both thoughts are terrifying. And yet, that's what we do as parents. That's what we must do. Our job is to give our children wings...
Yesterday was one of the most gratifying days of my life because I gave Lewie the tools and the confidence to succeed, and yet tears are dropping on my keyboard as I write this. I'm happy Lewie learned how to ride--I'm already daydreaming about bike trips, boardwalks, and trail riding. Still, I cry because Lewie is growing up. This is the great paradoxes of parenthood I suppose. And life...well it rolls on!
|One happy boy!!|