Today, Ryleigh rode her bike to school. I didn't think it would be that big of deal or an emotional thing for me, but it turned out to be a huge deal and yes, a few tears were shed. I felt kind of like the first day of Kindergarten, a little paranoid, a little sad...and very much in shock that my little girl was taking another giant leap toward being a big girl. But mostly, I was so extremely proud.
Ryleigh is not a persevere kind of kid, she doesn't work at things until she conquers them. She's more of a try it and if it doesn't come easy, try something else, something that does come easy kind of kid. I know that this does not indicate grand things for her in the future, but until the future comes I have vowed to kick her ass every step of the way to keep her from giving up. Take the removal of training wheels...
Once we took the training wheels off her bike she gave it a try, fell over and didn't touch her bike again for two weeks. Then one day, she asked me to put the training wheels back on so she could play with her friends. I refused and instead took her by the hand and lead her outside where her bike was waiting for her to learn to ride it. She tried again, fell over and when she tried to go back inside leaving behind all aspirations of ever riding a bike without training wheels, I grabbed her by the arm and dragged her crying butt back to the bike. Approximately 20 minutes, lots of tears and lots of screaming later (thank you neighbors for not calling CPS, you're awesome) she was riding her bike. A few months later she was rewarded with a new bike for her birthday and now she is an amazing bike rider, in short bursts.
So when she decided she wanted to start riding her bike to school, I kindly explained to her that school is a mile away. A whole mile, full of ups and downs and did I mention, it's a mile away. She seemed to be pretty confident that she could do it, many kids her in class do it she told me. But still, I felt that we needed a practice run. So on Saturday we set out to give the ride a try and as predicted, halfway there, she gave up.
She said her leg hurt and that she had a head ache. She wanted to leave her bike for the alligators and limp back home, or preferably be carried and fed grapes so that she could properly hydrate undisturbed by the process of walking. Once again, the mama bear kicked in and I gave her three options...1) finish the ride to the school and then go home and play with her friends. 2) leave the bike behind and walk home, where she would be promptly grounded for the rest of the night. 3)Ride her bike home, where she would be promptly grounded for the rest of the night. Really, there was only one option that she could live with. So with much angst on her face she mounted up and finished the rest of the ride.
As we neared the school she perked up and by the time we got to the school she was absolutely beaming with pride. I showed her how to lock up her bike and then she got to show her little sis "her playground". The ride home was a breeze (though it is mostly down hill) and I woke up this morning confident that she would make the ride with no problems.
My kid are not allowed to give up, my kids will learn to accomplish their goals and make their desires a reality. Kicking, screaming, crying, it makes no differnce to me. I want them to know that from bicycles to families to careers, the world is theirs for the taking, they just have to put their big girl pants on and take it.
3 weeks ago