But today I was. As I pulled up into the driveway, the garage door opened and Robbie was putting a bike helmet on. I asked him what he was doing. He said "I'm going to practice riding my bike with no heel wheelers." (Translation: training wheels) It's actually a bike that Charlie has outgrown.
Last summer, we tried to get Robbie to ride without training wheels. He was 7 years old -- high time to be riding a two-wheeler. We tried once. He wobbled and fell and was finished with that nonsense. Anytime after that when I asked if he wanted to learn to ride a two-wheeler he would say, "No thank you. I really couldn't."
And I didn't push it. With Robbie's sensory processing issues, there are some things that just seem scarier to him and take longer for him to achieve. I figured riding without training wheels was one of those things.
A few days ago, however, lots of the neighbor kids were out riding bikes, including our little neighbor girl who is a year younger than Robbie. I don't know if he decided it looked like fun or if he didn't want to be upstaged by a girl, but he decided he wanted to try it.
I went out into the street with him, held the back of the seat and ran down the street as he pedaled. There were two problems with this scenario. First, anytime he felt the least bit unsure, he'd let go of the handle bars and turn to grab onto me, which meant the bike came crashing down on both of us. Second, after about two passes up the street, I was huffing and puffing almost as badly as I was on our hike up Stone Mountain.He finally gave up and went back to the bike with training wheels.
But he didn't give up for good because he was back at it today. And he was determined. He didn't want any help. Though he did want us to watch. Typically, Robbie gets easily frustrated and wants to quit the first time things don't go away. As I watched him try again and again to push off, get pedaling and stay upright, I couldn't have been more proud. That's when I started getting teary-eyed.
Then he rode halfway down the length of the street, stopped in front of me and waited for me to cheer, which I did -- wildly. He dropped the bike, came over to me and said, "Can I get a hug, Mom?"
That's when I lost it all together. This is my kid about whom I jokingly say my biggest hope is that he can move out of the house some day. This is my kid who I worry about making friends and succeeding in school. This is my kid who put his mind to something and achieved it today.
THIS is my kid: