My baby’s got his training wheels on.
Kenny: “Momma, I can’t go fast enough with these [training] wheels on. They need to come off.”
Me: “The training wheels?”
Kenny: “Yes, they need to come off.”
Me: “Okay, I’ll take them off for you, but…” and then I stopped and chose not to finish my sentence.
Kenny: “What? What were you gonna say?”
Me: “Nothing, don’t worry about it. Here, give me a hand and we’ll take off the training wheels.”
So, Kenny helped me find the right size wrench and we quickly removed his training wheels. The proud little man marched his bike to the end of the driveway, convinced he was going to ride off down the street with his sisters. In fact, his confidence even had me convinced. Until he got on.
He sat there, exasperated, with both feet on either side of his bike, holding him up.
He put one foot on the right peddle, pushed forward, and went a couple of inches, nearly falling over.
Tried it again.
Frustrated, he got off and walked it a bit.
Then, he tried again.
Finally, his sisters made it around the drive and Emelie said, “Kenny, you can’t learn to ride on the driveway – you need to get in the grass.”
“OH! In the grass?” he asked them.
Meredith: “Yea, if you try on the hard driveway you’ll get lots of cuts and blood because YOU are gonna FALL A LOT.”
Kenny: “A lot?”
Meredith: “Uh huh. It sometimes hurts, but sometimes doesn’t. I guess that’s what it’s like when you learn to ride a bike.”
The girls rode off again, for the second time, without Kenny.
I knew he was about to cry – I could see his face scrunching up and his head hanging lower to hide his glassy eyes.
“Do you want me to put the wheels back on?” I asked him.
“Okay then, I’m going inside.”
I watched him from the window. He layed his bike on the driveway, sat cross-legged and watched his sisters with the most miserable, pouty face the boy could muster.
And then, he came inside and went to his room to play Legos.
The next day I heard Jeff and Kenny in the garage. I went out to see Jeff putting Kenny’s wheels back on the bike.
He just wasn’t ready – and missing out on riding with his sisters was NOT WORTH being able to ride on two wheels without assistance.
Today I watched him trudge up the hill by our house – its pretty steep and all three of them like to ride down it fast and hard. It makes me cringe to watch him – I’ve learned to NOT WATCH actually. But today I watched and noticed how very little he needs his training wheels.
They are his security.
And being the baby of this family, he takes his time through each new rite of passage; he’s all about security.
Soon, very soon, he’ll outgrow the training wheels.
I’m so thankful I have a photo to remind me of yet another marker in his life.