Trying and Riding

bike riding (photo by Wendy Kennar)

The biggest news in our family involves my son.  My eight-year old son is now a bike rider! 

For my son’s eighth birthday, we gave him a shiny red two-wheeler.  He had specified the color, and we all knew he was ready to give up the training wheels that had been attached to his smaller-sized bike.

Practice was done in stops and spurts.  It’s not easy learning a new skill, and though I repeatedly told my son that he had mastered a lot of new skills during his eight-year life, he was skeptical that he would ever learn to ride a bike.  He doesn’t remember learning to walk, learning to use the restroom, or learning to put on his socks, for example.  And though I tried to tell him that those skills were once difficult for him too, he did eventually learn them and now does them on a regular basis without really thinking about it.

But riding a bike was different.  My son was afraid of falling.  My son doubted himself.  And practicing riding wasn’t always fun; a lot of times, it felt more like a chore.

Until the day, I got Ryan out on his bike and told him he just had to try to put his feet up on the pedals (instead of letting them dangle down at the sides) and see what would happen.  He surprised us both by pedaling away. 

Each day since, we’ve been out on our bikes.  Each day, Ryan’s riding has gotten stronger, more steady and confident.  And because Ryan’s been out there riding, I’ve been out there riding too.  (Two years ago, I bought myself a bike.  You can read about it in this earlier blog post:

So now Ryan and I are out there together, both of us going further than we originally thought we could, riding for longer periods of time than either one of us knew we could.

When we’re back home, I’m definitely more tired and more uncomfortable than Ryan is.  Some days, I experience mild amounts of pain.  On those days, I feel proud to have used my body in this physically active way.  I feel good to be exercising, to be engaging in an activity I’ve always enjoyed and to be able to share it with my son.

On other days, I take off my helmet and am thankful that we’re back inside safe and sound.  Because my left leg really hurts, and I wonder how I’ll go about the rest of my day.  But I look at my son, at this new skill he’s mastered, at this new activity that we can do together, and any amount of pain I may suffer just doesn’t seem as important as the memories we’re making together.

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