Wednesday, March 23, 2016

As the Wheels Turn

We had a major milestone in our house this past week. This one has been a long time coming, too. A long time, with a lot of drama.

But now. Now it's official. Molly is a two-wheeling bike rider.

Yes, I do realize that Molly is almost 9 years old. I do know how old that is for someone to finally start riding a bike.  I know all this. But, hear me out.

So, technically, Molly learned to ride with no training wheels last spring break. Exactly a year ago. And, while she could technically do it, she was not comfortable with it at all. At all. We'd ask if she wanted to go ride her bike, and the answer was always an emphatic "no." I thought that she just hadn't been bitten by the bike-riding-loving bug. I blamed myself (as I am always wont do) for not pushing harder. She was too old when she finally learned. We should've worked harder with her. We should've been having family bike riding sessions. Yada, yada, yada. The neverending parental guilt, right?

Well, I really don't know what happened. I don't know why the change. Maybe it took a year of considering the ramifications of not riding a bike. Maybe she got tired of seeing all her friends ride by on their bikes. Maybe she just needed that much time to work up the courage. I mean, she is my child afterall. Taking time to work up to scary things might've been passed down in the DNA. No one would ever describe me as a jump-without-looking kinda gal. Ahem.

Anyhoo, back to the story at hand. Something shifted and all of a sudden, over the last week, Molly has become a bike-riding extraordinaire. She's ridden with Cory to get breakfast at McDonalds. She's ridden all over the school parking lot during spring break. She asks almost every day if she can ride up and down the street. And, yesterday, she begged to be able to ride her bike to school.

Now, keep in mind that school is less than a quarter mile from our house. I mean, we can literally see the school building from our front window. I'm looking at it right now, in fact. But, who are we to discourage this budding excitement? So, last night we trekked over to Academy because we just had to buy a bike lock to ensure that this morning's pilgrimage could happen.

And, this morning, she couldn't wait to jump on her bike and ride like the wind that whole .2 mile to school.

Oh, did I mention that Charlotte wanted to ride her bike, too?

"Look, ma, no training wheels!"

Using that oh-so-important bike lock!

Now that Molly is in the world of bike riding, I couldn't be happier for her. So many memories of my childhood revolving around riding my bike everywhere around the neighborhood (and beyond). And, I know I sound like the stereotypical old person here, but bear with me. My gosh, it was fun to just ride around wherever, whenever and however we wanted. Ahhh, the freedom and happiness we didn't even know we had or would forever be looking to reclaim.

As a kid, I would hop on my hot pink bike with the white banana seat and flowered basket, and ride until my heart was content. Sometimes I just rode around in circles around our cul-de-sac. Sometimes, I explored the woods and new houses that were being built on the edge of the neighborhood. Once, while riding my bike through some woods with my bestie, we saw something on the ground. Being adventurous and curious little girls, we stopped to get a better look. Do you know what it was? A bag full of stolen jewels. No joke. It actually happened. Hand to God. It's the truth. We had to call the cops and everything.

(I also once saw someone pour gasoline along the edge of my neighbor's house and then try to set it on fire, so between these two events, I was pretty convinced that I lived in one of the girl power mystery novels that I loved so much. I was the nation's next Nancy Drew, to be sure. But, anyway, that arson attempt is another story for another time. Back to bike riding ... )

With so many of my memories revolving around bike riding as a child, it thrills me beyond belief that Molly is finally joining the ranks. I mean, never mind that I haven't ridden a bike myself in probably 20 years, I know the feeling of freedom and excitement that comes with tooling around the neighborhood. Why wouldn't I want that for my girl?

And because I was feeling nostalgic thinking about my fun adventures as a girl, I just had to dig up some pictures from my bike-riding escapades.

Awww, look at those cuties helping me. My dad and grandpa. My brother's in the background.

A little bit older, and I believe without the training wheels. Here I go!

This is the bike I remember most. I also used to give my little brother rides on the back of the banana seat all the time. He doesn't remember, so chalk that up to wasted sibling love. ;)  But, check out that fancy basket. Nice, right?

Molly can now check one huge milestone off her childhood bucket list. She can now be the free-flying, bike-riding, adventure-finding child that we all remember being. And, as awesome and cool as I remember feeling when I found that bag of stolen jewels, I'm kinda hoping she doesn't have that particular adventure.

I mean, I want her to have fun, but no matter what I try, I can't quite turn off all my mommy protectiveness. Let's just leave her Nancy Drew adventures to the pages of her books. Where they belong. For her.

Not me. I mean, I loved being in the middle of a mystery. It was seriously so awesome. Oh, please, don't tell Molly I ever said that. Shhhh!

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