Saturday, March 17, 2012

Later, Dude


When my son was 5 years old, he wanted to learn to ride his two-wheeler.  He had zoomed around on his green plastic three wheeled GI Joe trike for two years.  He had a blue race car with four wheels that he pushed around with his legs since he was 2.  He had a bright green and yellow John Deere tractor that he got for Christmas one year.

But now he was the proud owner of a shiny silver gray bicycle.
It was real metal.
With real pedals.
Real handlebars.
And only two (count 'em) wheels.

We had a gravel driveway that was pretty level, out in the country parts of RI, just a few miles to the right of Connecticut.  So, being the good mother that I was, I proceeded to do what I'd seen all parents do to teach their child to ride.

I held the handle bars so he could get on.

Then I held the bike up, running by his side while he pedaled madly down our driveway, over rocks and lumps of grass and into and out of holes - none of which I had ever noticed before in such detail.

I transitioned to holding onto the back seat and ran bent over halfway keeping the bike up and on track as best I could.

We did that quite a few times before I did the surprise parental 'let go'.  You know, the one where the child just starts riding, and looks back to see that no one is holding on.
Only every time I did that, he would veer off onto the side of the driveway, ending in a bush or tipping over and landing on his side somewhere on the lawn.

Looking back, I'm not sure how many times we tried this.  It was a bit like me and golf.  After 10 swings on one hole, I stop counting.

I do remember
blood,
sweat and
tears were involved.

And I do remember at one point my son getting up off the ground, picking up his downed bike, and without looking at me, wheeling his bike past me on his way back to the garage.  He carefully parked the new bike against the wall beside the car.

"Are you done for today?"  I asked at him, knowing he must be exhausted - I was.

"I am not going to do that until I know how to do it!" he stated matter-of-factly.

And as ridiculous as that sounds, and sounded to me at the time,

I believe that is
exactly
what he did...
or didn't do
until
he could.

I love him.

*****************************
BTW:  Thank you to all who voted in the Think Kid, Think poetry matches!  It was so much fun, and there are so many good poems to read.  I made it through round 1, and am on to round 2 shortly.  I will get my next word tomorrow night.  I'll have 36 hours to write another piece...then voting starts again.  Some are getting their words tonight and will be posting those Sunday morning.  So make sure you go back to (or go to if you didn't yet) Ed DeCaria's site to read more great poetry and vote some more in a couple of days!

10 comments:

  1. This is one of those big symbolic parent/child moments, and you write about it here with vividness and tenderness. I really like your control of rhythm here, slipping in and out of prose and poetry with a seamless quality. Sweet slice! :)

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  2. Donna, my daughter would not let us help her. This is a back breaking job and parents come out rather heartless as you seem to know, but somehow it does get done. Thanks for the memory & for your sweet ending.

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  3. Donna, loving the poems over at Think Kid, Think! I'm excited to vote again and now I'll know to look for your poem by your name. Your family is in my thoughts. You've had quite a lot (understatement of the year) going on. Thank you for the bike memory - it is one we can all connect to and it warms my heart. Mine involves a teacher home visit, what seemed like a VERY large hill, some anger toward my mother, and much embarrassment.

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  4. I love your story of this iconic parent child event. I like the line "and only two (count 'em) wheels" and your son's strong self awareness.

    I am so glad to hear your grand-nephew is home and you have our prayers for his full recovery. What a nightmare!

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  5. I love him saying, "I'm not going to do that until I know how to do it." I completely understand it! It brought back memories of doing this with my own children (and there was blood, sweat and tears involved as well!).

    My prayers go out to you and your family. I'm glad your grand-nephew is home safe.

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  6. I believe that is
    exactly
    what he did...
    or didn't do
    until
    he could.

    I love him.

    So, I just read Julie's post (http://sunsandstone.blogspot.com/2012/03/ode-to-my-son.html) and now this! Another beautifully told mother's tale with gorgeous, true to life details. We did this bike thing three times with each of our kids - all different experiences, but pretty much also, the same story of helping our kids do what they need to do.

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    Replies
    1. I read Julie's beautiful post this morning, too. It was a familiar story to me.

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  7. This is a precious way to preserve that memory. I can picture this with my mind and heart.

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  8. Sweet slice about you and your son. You showed us you loved him by helping him ride, and by letting him decide to stop until he knew how to do it. And you told us you loved him in the last line of your story.

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  9. LOVED this post! I feel we may be kindred spirits on this one. As my son is learning to ride (or not), he will be my love regardless. Here's to hoping both of our sons find success. Thanks for sharing!

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