So, “Santa” brought our boys bikes for Christmas this year, but “he” brought so much more (apparently, hubby and I are smarter than we even knew!).
I realized today what those bikes represent in our family. For the boys, they represent freedom, and for me, they represent a new chapter in our lives. The adventurous chapter. Now, before I get all mushy, I’ll start by talking about the scrapes and cuts and bruises that have already occurred.
My oldest fell into a rose garden, missing the nearest bush by inches; my 2-year old has fallen over countless times, laughing every time (he takes after me: one time, when I was about one, my dad had me in one of those bucket-seat infant holders on the back of his bike when his back tire slid into a gutter and we fell, hard, onto the ground, leaving him scared to death that I was hurt and me laughing hysterically); two-year old also ran into a parked car as daddy yelled “watch out!”; skinned knees; scraped elbows, asphalt-scratched hands.
There have been tears, frustrations, and moments of proud self-discovery as they have learned to give themselves their own boosts, walk their bikes in rough terrain, fall gracefully with minimal injury. And as I watch them ride (warning: here’s where I might get a little mushy), I see two big boys relishing in their first real taste of freedom and independence; the first experience that doesn’t involve me hovering or giving constant guidance.
I admit that it’s difficult to watch their little training wheels lift from the ground as they lean a little too far and tip, or when they get going too fast and crash into something (I confess that I throw out the occasional “look out!” or “slow down!”), but I realize it’s all part of the healthy learning process and it’s what they need to gain self-confidence.
So, the adventures have begun! My four-year old and I took a long bike ride the other day to a beautiful park about a half a mile from our house. From beneath his little blue helmet, he looked out for cars and did an amazing job staying on the sidewalk. When we reached the park, we rode around the gravel path to a giant acorn tree and climbed on its branches.
My son calls these “special mommy dates.” These dates can include anything from taking him to see a movie, to planting a flower in the backyard, to (now) riding his bike. I love watching my two little boys grow up (my 2 ½ year old has his tiny bike and follows closely behind big brother), and these bikes, these new adventures, are the start of something exciting. It’s the start of doing truly big boy things, together.
Next, hubby and I will be teaching them to ride with no training wheels, and before we know it, they’ll be 16 and learning to drive (yikes!)
A few days ago, at my brother’s house (we were visiting them in Colorado for Christmas), I was holding and dancing with my 2 ½ year old in their kitchen. With my right hand holding his left, arms stretched out like ballroom dancers, we pranced around the kitchen spinning and laughing.
“One day we’ll be dancing like this for the mother/son dance at your wedding,” I said to him.
“Awe, don’t say that!” my sis-in-law said. “That’s so sad!”
It’s bitter-sweet, really. The thought of my boys growing up is sad and exciting all at the same time.
I’m just loving every moment of watching them grow. Wedding bells are a life-time away; so for now, I’ll enjoy the bike rides and excitedly wait for what comes next!