May 09, 2011

Just Like Riding a Bike

Image  © Eti Swinford |

I have been remiss lately on posting and I do apologize to my faithful readers. What started out as a hectic schedule turned into mental fatigue which was then compounded by some emotional stuff and suddenly I found myself feeling like I had forgotten how to ride a bike. When I was posting somewhat regularly, I found my internal dialogue sounding like a blog post. As with any kind of routine once you fall out of it, it seems hard to get back into the swing. But just like riding a bike, I am jumping back on and pedalling with all my might, hoping that I will remember how to.
Yesterday was Mother’s Day. With all of my choices of how to spend my day, I wanted us to go to our local Canadian Tire store and buy some shiny new bikes for the kids. Over the years, my children have endured hand-me-down and second-hand bikes and never complained about the rust and scratches. But this year is different. Now we are at a turning point in our bike-riding lives.
My nearly 8-year old son has asked for a 2-wheel bike. I tried to teach him a couple of years ago and it only took one accident where I lost my balance and grip, let go of his bike seat and he wobbled, skidded and fell hard on the asphalt of our back lane. My bad. Last year, he cautiously tried his hand with his rusty old 2-wheeler in the safe confines of our backyard. I could tell he was ready to stretch his bike-riding wings. My almost-6-year-old twins have clearly outgrown their 12-inch bikes with training wheels. The dead giveaway was their knees hitting the handle bars and watching their long legs pump furiously to get those wee tires in motion.

After a lovely breakfast in bed and a few errands, we hit Canadian Tire. Apparently we weren’t the only parents with this brilliant idea. Perhaps the fact winter ended only 2 days ago might have something to do with this rush to get bikes. Nevertheless, after some quick negotiations (the girls simply cannot have the exact same bike) we found ourselves wheeling three shiny new bikes to the cash register.
When we returned home, the kids literally grabbed their bikes from the van and pleaded to ride them straight away. We have a small dead-end lane behind our house and although it has a small incline and some nasty potholes, we thought it was a good place to start. My son grabbed his bike helmet, hopped on his bike and...rode!
It was unbelievable to watch him riding away from me down the lane, like a baby bird who had learned to fly. I started to get teary-eyed while cheering and applauding like crazy. When he turned around and rode back to me, the look on his face, his cheeks flushed with excitement and his eyes glowing with self-pride made my heart nearly burst. This is what being a parent is all about. Giving your children the foundation and the encouragement to get out in the real world, stretch their wings and soar.

It was the best Mother's Day gift I could have received.

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