There are firsts for all things. Sometimes they're good sometimes not so much but as we trundle along the path of life we will experience many. They tend to get get fewer and farther between as we get older but there are still chances for new experiences. Sometimes the real joy from a first is not personal but rather the opportunity to watch someone else conquering a particularly difficult task and enjoying the thrill of victory. I had just such a moment yesterday and it's thanks to my daughter and The Boy.
He's motivated. He has a cousin who's his same age and has become his best friend. They are in the same kindergarten class and live within a block of each other. The Cousin has mastered the art of the bicycle and The Boy wanted, needed, to do the same. He asked me to take off his pedals because that's how The Cousin did it so obviously that was The Way. So I took off his pedals, right down to the cranks and modified the seat so he could reach the ground with his feet and we had an impromptu pusher bicycle. And he practiced. Oh how he practiced. Until he learned the Art and Secret of balance.
He did about a thousand laps of the driveway, pushing his bike and learning control. Then it happened. The day before yesterday he decided he was ready and asked me to put his pedals back on. And suddenly he was riding. All by himself.
He's still learning the pitfalls of not looking down and obstacles and brakes but he's riding, pedals and all.
It's a big day in his life, bigger than he can know. It's about so much more than mastering a technique. It's about limits and freedom and acceptance of risk. It's about the joy that comes with a hard earned victory. It's about confidence and finding out you really can if you put your mind to it and try very, very hard.
He's already talking about riding to school and his first trail adventure with Papa. I can't keep him off the thing. It's very much like the first flush of love. His confidence has soared and entire new vistas of possibilities have opened up before him. Each flavored with the tangy spice of freedom.
I am so very proud of you my grandson. Thank you my beloved daughter for allowing me this. Words cannot express how I feel. I don't have a lot of firsts left in my life and this is one I will treasure until the day I die.
And yet that joy is tinged with a certain sorrow. They grow up so fast. Time speeds by us unseen and unheeded. God willing there will be many more firsts in his life. Many more mountains to climb and obstacles to conquer. More new experiences to enjoy and learn from. There will be sorrow and soaring highs.
But for now I will bask in his reflected warm glow of accomplishment and share in his joy. My grandson and his bike. I think I'll go for a ride.
With my Boy.