Bringing Balance

Ridin dirty
Ridin dirty
H-Elle ran over my head with her bike!
Me-I saw that. You feeling ok?
H-I’m feeling like I got my head run over by a bike.
Me-Makes sense.

With a new bike season comes new challenges. I wrote last year about how it was going to be scary taking the girl’s training wheels off, and with the weather starting to warm up, we’ve jumped right back into outside time. It also means we’ve jumped back into tearing up the streets on their bikes. Before we started the other day, Elle was all about taking the training wheels off and learning how to ride on her own. Hudson quickly jumped on the bandwagon and wanted to be a “big girl” too. Then the fear set in. For me.

Just to give a little back story, earlier that morning, the girls were playing in the living room, Hudson jumped up to run into her room for something and ran squarely into the door frame…with her face. This is just one of several examples that help to set the groundwork for my fear of letting them loose without training wheels. They’re not always the most graceful creatures when it comes to things like walking, running or generally moving around. I thought their dance and gymnastics classes would help with that, but apparently we have a ways to go.

Back to the bike story: We filled up the tires, got helmets on and made our way out to the dead-end street in front of my place where the girls can ride without worrying about traffic, running into people or getting in the way. They immediately wanted to jump into the “no training wheels” portion of the day, but I suggested they take a few minutes to reacquaint themselves with riding before we take that step. After a bit of a warm-up, I took the training wheels off of one of the bikes and we were ready to go.

I walked/ran behind, holding on to the bottom of the seat for balance as Elle peddled, leaning strongly from side to side, never really giving me an opportunity to let go of her seat, I realized this was going to be the extent of our “no training wheels experience” without simply letting go and having her crash to the ground. Next up was Hudson, who was only slightly better about not leaning so hard to the side that she’d fall over, which allowed me a few quick opportunities to let go of the seat, then quickly grab it back when she felt herself starting to fall. Although I couldn’t bring myself to totally let go, I think they felt accomplished in the fact that they tried it.

It was a pretty fun and exciting thing for them and for me, but I couldn’t help but feel that I’m not really sure when I’ll be able to let go…and let them crash. They don’t normally need my help hurting themselves, and I really struggled with the idea of them hitting the pavement at faster speeds than usual. The cuts, scrapes and bruises are a part of learning to ride a bike, but I can’t shut off the over-protective parent part that allows me to let them go.

Overall it was a good first run at it and I was proud that they both wanted to try it. I know it’s probably some big parenting metaphor about letting your children go, letting them learn the hard way, making them get back up and try again or whatever other thing can be related to that, but I think it’s going to take a lot of courage from the three of us to make this happen. I think I might have to go buy them some knee and elbow pads first.

Side Story: While riding bikes last night, the girls had a major collision that resulted in Hudson falling and Elle unable to turn away and ultimately running over/falling on top of Hudson. The quote above was from that crash and while it’s not funny, I can’t stop laughing about their reactions. Hudson said she felt like she got run over by a car (she’s my drama queen) and Elle cried for an hour cause she hurt her sister (she’s a sweetie). Just before that wreck, Hudson was trying to ride without a helmet, of which I immediately made her put back on. Luckily I did, because without the helmet, she could have really gotten hurt, with Elle running over her head and all. See why I can’t let go of the seat?

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