Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bicycle Riding: Stifling My Fears

Learning to ride a bicycle is a rite of passage, right? Well, not for me. I am, however, attempting to squelch my own fears so that my children (specifically T Bear at the moment) will experience the childhood bliss of bike riding.

When I was little my parents tried to teach me how to ride a bicycle many times. Honestly, I wasn't overly interested in it, but I tried. Early in the training process I lost control of my bike, flipped over the handle bars, and landed on the ground in dirt. That was it for me. I vowed I was done trying and essentially quit. I even attended a bicycle birthday party and jogged alongside of all of the other party goers.  Ridiculous - but I dare to say I have a stubborn streak. Some time later I won a bicycle at a local minor league baseball game. Of all the prizes I could have acquired - a bicycle. Really?  So, my dad pushed the issue and I had to show him that I could ride. I did. I rode my new bicycle about one hundred feet and got off. "See Dad I can ride!"  This was my response. Flash forward to my early married life when Hubby wanted to teach me to ride. Lesson one, about three minutes in I jumped off of the bike. Lesson over. 

For Easter, Mima and Poppi gave T her first bicycle with training wheels. I really don't think I am ready for this. She has gone out a few times and has done great. She looks like a natural. I am a nervous wreck. Tonight we took her through a neighborhood with Hubby riding his bike alongside hers. My stomach was in knots. What if the bike tipped over? What if she couldn't stop? What if a car came? Ugh. Too many what ifs. Our plan was to go through the neighborhood and venture across a fairly busy street to Dairy Queen. I chickened out. We got through the first stop sign and I was done! T did awesome. My fears were not needed. I tried to hide my fears by continuously reassuring her that she was doing amazing, but she saw through it. When we arrived back at the van she asked me why I was so nervous. My only reply was that I'm a mommy and you know mommy's get nervous. Lame. She looked so grown up dismounting from her bike and thoughtfully placing her helmet just so on her handle bars. I felt such pride for her at that moment.

Maybe it is because I don't know anything about bicycle riding. Maybe it's because when T is on her bike I feel like I have no control. Maybe it's seeing her take great strides toward independence. I don't know. What I do know is that watching her take off on her Little Mermaid bicycle filled me with angst, fear, excitement, and pride. It is truly amazing to be a part of this little person creating her own memories and embarking on her own journey. Aah. 

High: The look of determination, focus, and joy as T peddled her little legs on her bike for the first time. 
Low: The utter realization that T is no longer my baby and she will have experiences (such as bike riding, gasp!) that scare me to death!

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