Yesterday was a day that I’ve waited a long time for. It was one of the quintessential days of parenthood. And I missed it. Actually, I was about 15 minutes late for it.
Riley rode his bike without his training wheels for the first time ever. While I was at work.
We took his training wheels off last fall, but in case you didn’t know, we’ve had the worst, snowiest, coldest winter ever in the history of the world. Or something like that. So Riley really hasn’t had much practice on his training wheel-free bike. It’s finally started warming up so this weekend he and I gave it a shot. Then he and his daddy gave it a shot. I could tell he definitely had better balance than he did last fall. He seemed closer to reaching this goal and Derek said he’d definitely have it down pat by summer.
I knew it would be sooner than that. I didn’t know it would be the next day.
When I came home from work at 5:00, the three amigos (and the dog) had been outside playing for most of the afternoon. While Charlotte squealed and ran into my arms as I pulled into the driveway, Derek told me to “watch this” as he walked down the driveway holding Riley’s bike with a smile. I knew what was coming.
“…should I …..film this?” I asked. Keenly aware that I should. He nodded.
I positioned myself to the side of the driveway and I watched my little boy gleefully ride by himself up the driveway. And then crash into the garage. So he hasn’t learned to stop yet, but he can ride!
Look at that face! Then he crashed. And still smiled.
I distinctly remember learning to ride my bike when I was four. I never used training wheels. I owe that to having an older sister who I wanted to be just like. I literally hopped on her bike one day and started pedaling, according to my parents. See?
Ah, the early 80’s – when no one wore bike helmets, you just rode in the street on your banana seat bike. And it looks like I’m wearing bell bottoms. Huh?
To say that I’m proud of Riley is an understatement. Again, this kid never ceases to amaze me. Being a working mom is rough. Though I know he could’ve done this while I was in the house changing Charlotte’s diaper, or in the backyard picking up dog poop. I didn’t miss it because I work. Reminding myself of that makes it sting a little less.
Last night as Riley laid in bed, I told him how I proud I was of him and that he should drift off to sleep thinking about how he rode his bike with no training wheels for the first time. He came out into the living room ten minutes later and asked me to tuck him in again. While we walked back to his bedroom, he asked I would rub his back. So he laid in his bed and I sat on the edge, rubbing his tiny little back. “Ah, this is so relaxing,” he sighed. “What was your favorite part of today, bud?” I asked him while I rubbed, totally thinking he’d say riding his bike. “This, right now,” he said dreamily. Suddenly I didn’t feel so bad about missing what I thought was a milestone (and yes, it is), but usually, it’s the little things like a back rub in a nightlight-lit bedroom that really means something.