bike riding_a

The Webster’s Dictionary defines Freedom as (a.) “The state of being at liberty rather than in confinement, or under physical restraint. (b.) The absence of release or ties. (c.) Exemption from external control.”

Summer has always been my favorite time of the year. I love the heat, wearing shorts and flip-flops, and the fact that it gets dark later. However, the best part of summer from when I was a child, and even now as a “grown-up,” was riding my bike; feeling the wind in my face and hair, while exploring streets, going on dirt paths, over hills, and under tunnels. Riding has also helped clear my head. In fact, I’ve done my best creative thinking while riding my bike.

At the beginning of this season, I made it my goal to model the joy of pedaling on two wheels for my daughters who are five and seven. I’ll be honest; there is nothing more constraining than training wheels. They’re bulky, ugly, and no matter how securely fastened the wheels are, they are never really aligned correctly, which makes one feel like constantly tipping over.

So, a couple of weeks ago, my husband and I donated our children’s older bikes and bought two new bikes—without training wheels. We set them up on their kickstand in the garage, with helmets dangling from their handle bars. Then, we announced we were going riding—the whole family. Oh, my kids loved the bikes and were extremely excited to have them, but there was a But…and the great mystifying excuse… “We don’t know how to ride without training wheels.”

“Sure you can,” I replied.

You see, my girls had become too complacent in their own world, pedaling on “four wheels”. It was time to take them off.

Four chestnut-brown eyes stared back at me, uncertainty creasing their brow, along with some fear-stricken hesitancy. The situation looked tense at first, but there was also a willingness to try, after all, they had brand new bikes. And then it happened. With some needed practice and a few bruises, they learned how to ride without those “restraining” wheels—each providing the other support and encouragement. A sigh of relief—a little nudge was needed.

As we finish off August and pour into the fall months, and with their renewed confidence in bicycle riding, I believe my girls will be pedaling up and down the street until the first snowflakes hit the ground. And, that’s okay with me. They’ve tasted and felt the freedom of riding.

Someone recently commented to me. “If you think this is freedom, wait till they learn how to drive a car. You’ll be in trouble for sure.”

I laughed it off. “Ha. We shall see. I’m in no hurry for them to grow up. Right now, I’m happy with this accomplishment.”

Until then, the saga of raising children continues, one pedal at a time.

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