My four-year old has built the confidence to ride his two-wheel bike with training wheels. The joy and confidence on his face that grows during this accomplishment is priceless.
We are two days into the “training” and I swear I can see the power of his pedaling increase.
We are blessed to live less than a block from over 30 miles of trails winding through Minneapolis. After about 3/4 of a mile one way, we turned around. A small downhill faced us, which he had no problem going up, and I internalized the decision to let him take his confidence to tackle this hill.
I won’t describe in detail how it exactly happened because I could speculate in a number of ways: a narrow path, an oncoming biker with a trailer, me biking too close or just plain nervousness when biking too fast. He fell off, face first.
I am very much a helmet advocate, so he was wearing his brain-bucket. But from behind I pondered if there were going to be teeth leftover on the concrete after this incident.
Layers of skin shaved off on his cheekbone underneath his eye and ran down his cheek for several inches. I jumped off my bike and picked him up, sitting him on my thigh. A mix of panic and anger swirled inside of me.
There were no broken bones and all of his teeth remained in his head, so I calmed myself, squeezing him and telling him he’ll be alright.
My first reaction was to set him on the cargo carrier of my bike, leaving his in the bushes and roll him home as fast as I could. Then I recalled again that this wasn’t life threatening and maybe this is a chance to teach. That and I didn’t want to have to come all the way back for his bike.
I lifted him off of my bike, gave him a squeeze and told him he had to get back on. I received a screeching, “Noooooooooooooooo,” in response.
After more blood, tears and crying, he remained on his bike as I rolled us home. It was quite a site, me bending down to pull the handle bars on his small bike while keeping hand on mine and rolling us both home.
It’s hard for me to look at his scab but easy for me to be grateful the accident wasn’t worse.
The old axiom of needing to get back on the horse after falling off rings true on so many levels. Whether I fail at work, a side project or fixing something at home, I need to continue to bring this with me. He continues to teach me as long as I am open-minded.
Seven hours later, my son was asking to go back out on the bike. So we went back out. Sure, we avoided the hills, but he got back on the bike. And showing up is half the battle.