She is just like her daddy with tools.
'Mama, can you loosen this for me?'
I glanced up to see her kneeling next to her bike in the middle of the driveway with the right tool in the right size trying to remove the nut that held her training wheels on. I didn't feel like helping her learn how to ride her bike without training wheels just then, but I had casually said the previous day that I was about 5 years old when I learned how to ride my bike without training wheels. Reluctantly I loosened the nuts and let her do the rest of the work. A small pile of nuts and wheels lay at her feet as she struggled to lower her seat. With her helmet and elbow pads in place she was ready. I held the back of her seat and it felt like yesterday that I was the one sitting nervously on the bike as my dad held the back of my seat. I remembered so clearly the excitement I felt as I sped down the sidewalk hearing my dad's feet pound the pavement. I remember how I had crashed the moment I glanced back and saw my dad standing so far away as he proudly watched me ride my bike on my own.
'Don't let go, OK mom?...promise?'
I promised. I made her stay on the grass just in case she fell. Back and forth across our yard she went. We practiced getting the pedal in the right position for starting off. We practiced stopping and putting her feet down. I did let go a couple of times just for a second to see if she was able to ride on her own. She was, but she was so concerned about if I was holding on or not she wasn't able to keep her balance for very long. My back started to hurt. She was starting to whine. It was time to take a little break. She wanted to keep going. I sat down and assured her there was always tomorrow.
She moved onto the sidewalk and tried a couple of times to get started. She fell. She cried. She got back up. She tried again and again. I noticed that if I acted like I wasn't paying attention when she fell, she would get right back up. She figured out how to get enough speed by pushing herself with her feet, to get her feet on the pedals. I went to get the camera. She was getting the hang of it. As I walked back out with the camera in hand, I heard 'woohoo', and saw her ride straight into a bush and fall. She laughed and got back up. On her next try she was riding. A nervous giggle followed her as she went all the way around our cul-de-sac. I'm always surprised by the rush of emotion I feel when I see one of my kids accomplish something. As I swallowed the lump in my throat and felt my eyes fill with tears, I wanted to run after her. Instead I just shouted out a cheer for her. She had accomplished this on her own. She didn't give up.
She rode and rode and rode. Her little giggle didn't stop.
She rode her bike until the sun went down and it was too cold to stay outside.
I'm so proud of her and her determination to ride her bike.
Way to go big girl!!!!