Except that, until last Saturday, he didn't ride a bike. It's not that he didn't know how; he rides his green machine (big wheel) like a mad man. He just didn't want to ride a real, two-wheel bike.
Now, I'm an intense, Type A, milestone-checking-off kind of mom. And it has driven me absolutely insane that the boy refused to ride a bike. I tried everything I could think of to get him to ride: bribery, force, even mild and well-meaning ridicule. But still, he refused.
For his sixth birthday, we gave him a really cool black bike and matching helmet. He rode it with and without training wheels a couple times each then gave up after one fall. For his fifth birthday, we bought one of those tandem bikes. You know the kid-sized bike that you attach to the rear wheel of the adult-sized bike. He rode it once, crying and screaming the entire time. For his third birthday, we gave him one of those SmartCycle video games thinking he'd learn how to peddle and want to make the switch. For his second birthday, we gave him a big wheel. But still he wouldn't ride. When he bought the green machine at a rummage sale last year, I thought, "Okay, now he's going to ride a bike." Ya, I was wrong.
I talked about it with other mom friends, brainstorming about how I could get him to ride a bike. He didn't even want to talk about bike-riding much less do it. But I resolved this was one battle I would win.
So last Saturday, after breakfast, I announced we were getting the bikes out of storage and going for a ride. All of us including Grammy and Pops. Adam immediately freaks out.
Crying, whimpering, he blubbered "I can't ride a bike. I'm never going to ride a bike."
"That's fine, I didn't invite you on the bike ride," I said.
"I'm never going to ride a bike. Do you want me to die? I'll kill myself riding a bike," he persisted.
"It's okay, Adam. You weren't invited. You can stay home by yourself," I said calmly.
"Okay," he said, relieved.
"No, I mean, we all are going for a bike ride except you. So you can sit outside the locked house and wait for us," I corrected.
"Okaaaayyy," he whined.
About ten minutes later...
"Mom, I want to try and ride my bike. Will you invite me on the bike ride?"
"Sure Adam, no problem," I replied secretly smiling but knowing this battle was long from over. I envisioned getting the bike out, pleading with him to try it, begging him to stop crying. Then I would acquiesce and ask Scott to put training wheels back on the bike. The crying, pleading and begging would resume. Most of the day would be spent this way, interrupted by short rides on the bike with me running alongside like the mom in the Hallmark commercials. I was suddenly wishing I'd never opened my stupid mouth.
So, we got down the bikes. Adam looked at his bike and then at me and said, "I think I'll give it a try."
"Okay," I said trying to hide my skepticism. We were in my parents' motorhome garage. He'd only have a small area of flat smooth ground before having to pedal uphill and then onto a gravel road. Plus the seat was two years too low for him and the tires were flat. I had very, very little faith that this would be successful.
He threw a leg over, put his feet on the pedals and rode away. Yes, he rode away. On flat tires. Uphill. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I just stood there dumb-founded.
"I'm doing it! I'm riding a bike!" His glee-filled cheers woke me from my stupor.
Scott and my parents were not witnessing the miracle with me.
"Did he really just get on and start riding?" one of them asked me. (I don't remember who, I was still in shock.)
"Yes, yes he did."
And so he spent the rest of the day riding his bike all over our yard, all over the neighborhood. And when he'd stop for a rest, he'd say (again and again) "I feel so free. It's like a burden is gone." He was even heard yelling, "Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeedom!"
That's when it occurred to me that riding a bike without training wheels is like the first time we let go of our worries and let God take over. It's like just trusting Him with everything and feeling so incredibly free, like the world has finally opened itself to us. That's some amazing freedom.
Oh, and on a side note, shortly after Adam discovered he could, actually, ride a bike, Gracey decided she needed to ride a bike too. Of course she did.