“I think I’ll just go outside and ride my bike for a while,” he said, so casually, as if it were the most normal thing in the world.

As if I didn’t have to physically pay him to pedal ten times the last time we gave this a try.

He was dressed in long sleeves and long pants, knee pads and elbow pads – one that is mine from my rollerblading days – and a helmet that has either never been his or I haven’t been paying attention to how small his head is.

If I’m being honest, I wasn’t really in the mood for bike riding.  Despite the clothing listed in above paragraph, it was 93 degrees.  Which I’ve had just about enough of, by the way.  But when your strong willed child chooses a battle – or in this case a victory – you rarely get to choose the perfect timing.

So out we went.

I encouraged him, “Buddy, you really did a lot of the hard work last time.  The hardest part is learning to balance, and your body knows how to do that now.  There’s this saying: “It’s like riding a bike,” and that means it’s something you never forget how to do. Once your body learns the balance of riding a bike, then you’re golden.  I think you’re about to surprise yourself with how easy this is going to be.”

He looked at me with his eyelids half mast.  As if encouragement was the very last thing he needed right now.  His eyes said, “Just hold on to the bike seat, please.”

And wouldn’t you know it, he took off.

boy riding bike in a helmet

 

I sort of thought that might happen.  Because isn’t that how parenting goes, almost nine times out of ten?  You push and pull, you aim and prod, and you try to make them think it’s their idea all along, and then one day they just… do it.

 

And the waiting feels like it was nothing at all.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a bike rider.  Of his own volition.

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