He was sobbing. Dirt streaked down his face and blood streaming from his knee. And what did his compassionate, loving mother do? "Get up Will. Let's try again." "No! I hate it! I will never be able to ride a bike. I don't care! I am done!" Commence sobbing and walking away.
Now I had a choice here. I could let him walk away. I could let him quit. After all he was having a lot of trouble. He was spending more time on the pavement than on the pedals. But I couldn't. I also knew how bad he felt that he couldn't do this yet. Partially my fault, as I had never bought him a bike because there was no place to ride. Then he discovered that all his friends were riding and he..couldn't.
I knew this was hard for him. I also know lots of things are going to be hard that you can't quit. For me, this was becoming less about staying up on two wheels and more of a lesson I remembered learning myself. I once was stuck in the middle of a cliff. Ok...maybe not a cliff, but it was a high rock. We were rock climbing for a training for summer camp. I was screaming "No! I hate it! I will never be able to climb this rock. I don't care! I am done." And I had a friend who refused to lower the rope. "Nope. Not done. You are done when you climb over the top of that ledge." He told me he would wait here all day. I knew he would. He encouraged and told me where to put my feet. Finally, I pulled myself over the top. I did it. That feeling of victory is what I wanted for my son.
I told him to get back here and get on the bike. I grabbed the back of his bike and ran beside him. I "ignored" his tears and begging. A couple of times we both tumbled and it truth be told I started to wonder myself. What if he doesn't get it? Soon, my husband came to the rescue. He took my son and began to talk with him and run beside him. I went into the kitchen to get supper ready. After about a half an hour they called me out. Will was doing better. He was staying up for a few pedals before crashing to the ground. It was a small victory for the day.
Day by day Will started to go out on his own. Trying and falling....but getting up. Trying again. I have to say I was more proud of him each time he picked his bike off the ground than when I finally saw him riding. Free of training wheels, peddling his heart out, and smile wider than I had ever seen it. He did it. "Look at me mom!" he shouted as he raced through a mud puddle.
As a matter of fact, he is now so good that this weekend at camp he was at the top of a very large hill and was ready to go down. "Umm..Will that is too high." "Let him go," my husband said. "But he will get hurt." "Let him go." So I did. I held my breath as he came down the hill, hitting bumps, scooting all around, and then landing on the bottom with a big smile on his face. Let him go.