It appears that in today’s world, certain adolescent pressures continue to bombard our children.
There are so many milestones to break that simply being a kid is a thing of the past. Nowadays, they must be walking by a year, potty trained by three, breezing through Atlas Shrugged by six and out the door to work a 9 to 5 by 10 years old.
Well, at least it seems that way.
Don’t get me wrong, I am just as much to blame for this as the next overachieving parent. I wanted to keep up with the Joneses when it came to my children — no matter what kind of emotional stress it may have caused them.
As the beautiful weather continued to embrace us, I kept revisiting the idea of removing the training wheels from Lars’s bike. We tried last year but ended with little success. I’m pretty sure the experience scarred him more than anything as he had taken a few pretty nasty falls in the process.
We were bound and determined to get him on two wheels — constantly telling him how superior dual-wheel riding was than his current quadruple conditions (say that five times fast!).
Meanwhile, we kind of forgot that kids typically sort these kinds of things out in their own time.
I got to thinking: how old was I when I graduated to a two-wheeler? Probably six or seven. That seems to be the general consensus of people my age when it comes to the topic. And in that case why the heck are we all in such a rush to rid our children of their training wheels?
So this year we decided to let Lars choose what the fate of his summer transport vehicle would be. At first, he was still hesitant. But when I finally backed off and stopped staring at him expectantly, he agreed to give the no-training-wheel option a shot again.
Jamie was elated as he and Lars headed towards the little treed path behind our house. I think for my husband it wasn’t about the success of getting him to ride, but rather the fun and bonding they had while learning.
Jamie has always said that learning how to ride a bike is one of those memories that will forever stick in a kid’s recollection, so it is our job as parents to help make it a damn happy memory to have.
Perhaps you’re thinking, “Well, that’s a little sappy. …”
I thought so too, at first. Then I started recalling my own early riding experience with my Dad. We were in a parking lot kitty corner to our three-bedroom townhouse in Anders. There was Dad pushing the back of my bike as I pedalled on frantically for dear life. It wasn’t until I reached the end of the paved lot that I realized at some point ole Daddio had let go and left me to it. Alone! At first I was livid that he would forsake me like that, but soon after I realized it was a good thing and completely worth it now that I knew how to ride solo.
All of these years later, this memory still sits easily in my mind’s eye. What a wonderful thing.
Within an hour and a half of their riding lessons, Jamie and Lars came barging into the house bellowing my name. “Come look, come look! He’s doing it!” Jamie roared. His face was red and hot with exertion but gleaming with pride even so.
It’s funny how two full-grown people can get so overjoyed about something as basic as bike riding.
As Jamie and I stood on that little path behind our house and watched our son ride off into the sunset, I felt pure happiness for him. He was a little wobbly but upright and confident; he had prevailed and conquered.
The two of us were cheering and screaming his name. At one point, I think Jamie may have enthusiastically thrown his fist into the air above his head.
And there it was — one of those magical moments that will be held gently in our memory for the rest of time.
And with that, Lars Brown was officially the rider of a two-wheeler.
Most good things in this life are worth waiting for. The happiness I shared with my husband and son that day was definitely worth the wait. It made me realize that the achievement isn’t in keeping up with the Joneses but the will and determination it takes to get there.
Lindsay Brown is a Sylvan Lake mother of two and freelance columnist.