Bradley learned how to ride his bike with no training wheels over the weekend. He still needs a little help. He can’t really get started, or steer, for that matter, but he is getting the hang of it. I’m not. It’s hard to see my baby turn into a little boy. First Kindergarten pre-registration, now no training wheels! Next I will have to hand over my car keys. NO!!!! Time is going by way too fast! It makes my chest tighten and I get all panicky inside, it feels like a million butterflies flapping their powdery wings against a glass jar in the scorching summer sun.
Maybe there should be training wheels for parenting. But then there is that motto – No matter if you’re ready or not, the training wheels have to come off sometime. *sigh* I’m the resistant child…strangling a leg outside the Kindergarten classroom, “Don’t go! Please! Not yet. Don’t leave me!!!!!”
It is an exciting time though, being five and finally starting to figure out life and how stuff works, a little. Being five means getting to stay up until 9pm and being able to hold up all your fingers on one hand to show how old you are, big deal. And of course, learning to ride a bike…and fall and get up again. And fall some more.
Do you remember your first bike? Do you remember learning to ride a bike?
I don’t really remember my first bike, but I remember my favorite bike. A pink Huffy, dirt bike style. It wasn’t a baby pink, or a fuchsia pink, it was more of a darkened Pepto-Bismol pink. Not to girly or frilly, but just pink enough. I remember the dirt between the rubber grips on the handle and how I liked to strum the hard plastic with my thumb, like a guitar. I remember the cushioned seat that I tried to stand on while riding, pretending I was a circus performer. That never worked very well.
I was relieved that my bike didn’t have streamers or a basket, even though I wished it had a license plate with my name on it. I wish we had a picture of it. The only picture is the fuzzy one in my head. But sometimes those are the best memories, I guess, because you can fill in the missing spots with whatever you want.
Oh, the places that bike took me…oh, the memories.
I remember riding that bike up and down the street, all the way to the Nazarene Church with the big rusty bell that was at the end of our street, which really wasn’t that far, but as far as I was allowed to go and equalled my freedom.
I remember the neighbor boy taught me how to do burn outs. Pedal, pedal, pedal super fast and then slam your feet backwards for the break, standing up with one foot down so you could swing the bike in a circle around you, spraying gravel like water from a hose. After each time I would get off my bike and inspect the road to see if I left tire marks. It usually only happened when it was hot and the tar was able to smear.
That was also the summer of the worst bicycle crash of my life. I went to do a burn out; my bike stopped at the end of the hill, but I didn’t. I skidded face first into a pile of gravel. My face turned into a humongous scab and I had to drink oatmeal from a straw for a week. I never was very athletic. I have only come to face this fact in my older age, since recovery takes quite a while longer.
I wonder what Bradley will remember about his first bike. Will he remember his dad holding the back of the seat, steadying and pushing him, “Pedal, pedal, pedal.” Will he remember the church parking lot where he learned? Will he remember running into the dumpster?
I wish I knew what I was like when I was five. We have photos, but no detailed memorabilia. That is why I scrapbook and blog, to help my kids remember all these fun and crazy times. And there can be blurry spots, because I want them to have room to fill in with their imaginations.
And as I’m typing this something just smacked up against the house. Bradley and Collin are playing outside. I assume Bradley and a wiffle ball are the culprits. Will he remember me storming out the screen door and hollering, “What in the world was that?” The funniest part was that he was trying to run to the farthest part of the backyard, like it couldn’t be him. He turned around, “I don’t know, Mom,” so innocently.
Scraped shins, bruised knees, and scabby elbows are just part of childhood, like bikes scattered on the front lawn and mosquito bitten kids chasing lightning bugs, or a homemade game of baseball on the lawn. Childhood.
What do you remember?
p.s. Check out Bradley’s video below.