For days, you bounced up and down, unable to restrain yourself.
You talked about it constantly.
Ever since the box arrived.
You knew what it was.
When we unpacked it, you couldn’t stop yourself.
Despite our reminders, you kept reaching for it, touching it.
Ringing the bell.
Climbing up on the seat.
Your enthusiasm was contagious.
On the day your helmet arrived, you insisted on wearing it—inside—all afternoon. You tried to wear it to eat your dinner. I had to explain that boys take their hats off to eat.
Finally, the moment was here.
We took your bicycle outside.
You eagerly climbed onto it.
And, with your dad holding from behind, you tried to pedal.
It took a few tries to get forward motion.
You’re still working on prolonged distance.
Sometimes you get excited and accidentally put the brakes on.
You’ve had some falls.
But they didn’t stop you.
And I know you’ll have more.
As I watched you, I couldn’t believe we had reached this moment.
It seems like yesterday when, early one Christmas morning, you learned to crawl while we opened presents around you.
When you used to lay across my lap and stare into my eyes.
When we used to nap in the afternoon together.
And now I’m watching you pass through another rite of childhood.
Riding a bicycle is a little like life.
Put your feet on the pedals and your hands on the grips.
Place your faith in the laws of physics and strength and willpower.
Close you eyes.
And give it the best you’ve got.
You’ll probably fall.
You might run into something.
You may even get hurt.
You’ll certainly scare yourself.
And us. Even though we try to hide it.
But we’ll be here, to steady and push you along.
To make sure you are wearing your helmet and holding on tight.
To catch you when you teeter.
To kiss you when you fall.
To teach you that you can do this.
Until you don’t need us.
You won’t even realize when it happens.
And then, suddenly, before any of us are really ready for it, you’re riding on your own.