By Kelli Bowen
Three summers ago, Miss A fractured her skull after a fall at her own birthday party. That was the summer she turned 5. The rest of the summer she wasn’t supposed to do anything that could cause another accident…like bike riding.
The years that followed, she really just didn’t have an interest in learning. She figured she was just as fast running as other kids were by the time the other kids dug their bikes out, found their helmet, and got on the bike for the destination. Miss A was already there. She also wins most foot races she participates in, to the chagrin of the neighborhood boys.
There is one obstacle being wheelless though: riding to school. We live a mile from the school, and big sister rides almost daily. Miss A can’t keep up long-term, and if there’s something Miss A won’t tolerate, it’s being left behind.
So last night Miss A asked if I’d help her learn to ride bike. Absolutely.
We went over the basics. She tried to get going a few times. She tipped over hard. I could tell this was a defining moment. I told her, “Everyone who rides bike falls. A lot. If you get mad and give up, just accept you’re never going to learn how to ride bike. Or try again.” She decided to try again.
After some stationary biking with me holding the back of her bike in the air, which she found HILARIOUS, some rolling down hill and balancing, and a couple shoves, she DID IT.
She spent the rest of the night riding bike around the pond on the bike path behind our house. She asked Hubby and me to watch her go around and around. She tipped a couple times, almost mowed into a couple unsuspecting pedestrians, but she kept trying.
By the end of the night, she rode all the way around the loop without stopping and without crashing. I asked her how she felt and she said, “Like a big kid!” She beamed, “Can I ride to school now?”
We told her that she needed to practice more and we need to do some street practice after she gets more comfortable. Tonight she said: “Mom watch me.” She went around and around like she has ridden bike for years. Then Hubby took her down the street and went over street and traffic rules.
So when you see a kid riding down the street, a little wobbly, but beaming ear-to-ear, that’s someone who decided not to get mad and give up, and to try again, so give them some respect…and some extra distance.
Kelli makes her home in Cass County with her husband, two daughters (11 and 8) and two dogs. She works for a regional seed company by day and tries to be an alright mom, wife, friend and writer by night.
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