"Like riding a bike" - a lesson on patience + guidance

My daughter got a bike for Christmas this year.


A little backstory, my daughter, she gets something into her head, and she does it, no questions. I have no clue where she gets that from, but I applaud her relentlessness and dedication to her craft. 😜


So, when it came time to ride a bike, she was adamant that she could do it. She's nine, so the bikes are a bigger size than they would have been if she would have learned to ride a bike at an earlier age with training wheels. Go ahead. I see you judging. I agree they should have been riding bikes by now, but we were busy working on other things. The bike thing is just now something I am willing to tackle anyway.


So, my daughter, this fearless yet fragile little girl, sets out to ride her bike and struggles big time. She got frustrated and worked herself into a tizzy of fear and lack of control. She got defensive and quit. My poor child, I am sorry- you get this lack of self-realization from your mother. Lift her in love, y'all! This child is going to need it! 💞


On the evening of the first bike ride incident, I could tell she was hard on herself and in her head about what had happened earlier. She was going back to her basics to self regulate by painting and drawing. I've noticed that these are the things that allow her to slow down, process, and work through it in her mind. Basically, I saw an "in," and I went for it. I asked her if I could paint with her. She happily handed me a paintbrush, and we began to talk. I told her I saw she was frustrated. We chatted about how she thought it would be easier than it actually was. I told her all about the time I fell off my bike, ironically when I was nine years old, and I showed her the mark I still have on my face to prove it! I let her know that it made me sad to see her quit on herself and that if she wanted to, we could try again tomorrow because I know how important it was to her.


The next morning she woke up, ate breakfast, and repeatedly asked to ride her bike until I complied. (These stubborn traits run deep!) Who was I to get in the way of a girl's dream? I refilled my coffee cup, and off we went. As we walked down our driveway, I told her that this would only work if she were kind to herself. That even when it got hard or was confusing, she had the power to breathe through it. She agreed, and we began.


I showed her the basics of this bike. Picture a Dad telling his daughter what every function of the car does before he allows her to drive for the first time, and you'll get the gist of what transpired. I over Calla-fied everything, and ultimately gave into timing, knowing that when she was ready to ride a bike, she would. My job was to provide her with the tools, (bike) and show up (go outside when asked), and encourage her to keep trying new things ("peddle this way") until the time it clicked for her. She was making huge strides when she started to slow down and breathe through it. There were still lots of struggles though. I am talking, plowed straight into the fence, bruised tummy and headaches kind of challenges.

Nevertheless, she persisted and began to understand the necessity of breaks and brakes.


The final thing to master was the actual art of getting the bike in motion by herself. My husband and I had been holding the seat and helping her balance and launch with a gentle push. (What a metaphor for parenting!) But now she was trying to figure out how to do it on her own, full independence.


So, this afternoon when she asked me excitedly if we could go outside and ride, and I the killer of dreams said, no because I had work to do. My husband, the strikingly handsome carnivore that he is, Dad-ed so hard and stepped in and willingly went outside to spend time with his daughter. He knew I needed time to work on my own struggles and need for independence, and off they went! I love that man!


A little while later, I emerged from my office to make a pot of coffee and asked my husband how it went. He said, "Great, she can start her bike on her own now." "Really?!" I replied with excitement. He told me that he too explained the way the bike worked to her,🙄 (I'm telling you! LIFT THIS CHILD UP.🙏) and now she can do it.


This whole experience taught me so many lessons — all of which you can decipher above. But, if you are teetering on the fine line of fearless and fragile, I encourage you to stay with it, take breaks, breathe through it and seek guidance from those around you, they really are just trying to help and keep you safe.




Calla is a writer, mother of three, and host of Have The Conversation Podcast.  Her blog, art, and conversations are here for you as living proof that mistakes and the lessons they provide are all part of a bigger picture   Reach out! - She'd love to get to know you.

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