Home > Family, Love, Parenting > A bike, a boy, and a heart-calendar

A bike, a boy, and a heart-calendar

“I took off his training wheels,” my husband, Anthony, said from the other end of the phone line. “He’s doing great!”

He kept talking, but I didn’t track what he was saying. My work desk and computer fell away as I pictured the tiny baby my heart told me I just brought home sometime around yesterday.

I thought, stricken, how I wished I’d been there for my baby’s first wobbly training wheel-less jaunts. How it wasn’t time yet. He just learned to walk last week! Didn’t he?

The moment we saw each other after I got home from work, Li’l D’s experiences riding his bike like a big boy tumbled out his mouth in an almost coherent rush. Their core was: Could I watch him ride? Could I, could I?

We took a walk around the block. He did great! Stopping was a little awkward for him, but that was nothing I knew a few more hours on the bike wouldn’t cure.

Picture by Anthony

Picture by Anthony

As I watched him from behind, I thought about the day I first learned to ride my own bike without training wheels when I was six years old. The bike was a little blue Schwinn; my teacher, a fifth grade neighbor, Jennifer, who helped me get my balance on flat land before walking me up the small hill between our Monterrey homes and letting me sail.

I was terrified. I was exhilarated. I was free!

Li’l D’s smile told me he felt just the same.

Tomorrow, Li’l D will start second grade.

(This is so weird, since first grade just started, like, an hour ago.)

He read and checked off his school supply list with each item we found at the store yesterday. I overflowed with pride as I watched him work his way down the list, seeing how much he’s learned since last year–when I read the supply list to him–and, before that, since I took him home from the hospital not quite seven years ago.

Look at him go! I thought. How fantastic! How … heartbreaking, how fast it all goes.

We bought him a new helmet, too. He’s been using the same one for four years.

"What's up, buddy?"


As I adjusted the straps on his new helmet, I fought back tears.*

“It fits just right!” he exclaimed.

“It sure does,” I said.

He wore it out of the store, never mind that he wasn’t anywhere near his bicycle.

I smiled. Still my little boy, after all.

I choked back tears his first day of preschool, too.

Watching that big little wonderful boy walking around in his bike helmet, I was uplifted remembering what I’d written then and adapting it to now. To my second grader.

He is not walking biking away from me,
but toward who he is meant to be.

walking toward

* The tears won when I talked to a store manager about how lovely
Erica, the employee working the school supply area, had been.
Erica has two little boys of her own. Someday soon,
she’ll learn how lovely it is to watch them
take ever bigger steps onward and
know, through it all,
they’re ready.

  1. August 21, 2016 at 5:36 am

    They grow up so fast. 🙂

    • August 21, 2016 at 11:45 am

      They do! Individually, some moments seem slow (especially in the insomnia laden first year), but the totality just sweeps by!

  2. Paul
    August 21, 2016 at 5:48 am

    Awesome! Such freedom learning how to ride.

  3. Deb
    August 21, 2016 at 6:21 am

    He seemed so proud in his post yesterday, and I thought the same thing – freedom!

  4. August 21, 2016 at 11:28 am

    Aww well done Li’l D. I hope he enjoys his first day in his new year at school – and that the day is not too hard on you. I’m tearing up and he’s not even mine!

    • August 21, 2016 at 11:47 am

      Thank you! The first day or two are short days, so hopefully that helps him ease into it. We’re headed to the school soon to get his toes wet even before that. I’m excited for him, even if I am still … a (cough) bit … sniffly.

  5. August 21, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    I am smiling so big at the thought of him school shopping in his helmet! Best of luck to you both tomorrow as he starts 2nd grade. SO BIG!

    • August 28, 2016 at 7:41 am

      His first week was great! On Friday, he proudly told me that he’d spent the day on the second-highest possible “color” for behavior.

      The top color is only achievable in exceptional circumstances. I think it’s the first time he’s been on the notch just below it. He was very, very proud, and has been excited about class overall. 🙂

  6. August 21, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Time is a trickster. Huge events which were a blink ago, and some things for which we seem to wait a lifetime. At least.
    Smiling at the precious moments you and your family are building, storing…

  7. August 21, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    Right there with you, Mama. We start Third Grade tomorrow.

  8. August 22, 2016 at 7:11 am

    My daughter will be 10 later this year and is starting 4th grade next week. There has been so much that I made sure to see, and just as much that I didn’t see. The hardest part for me was when I realized that she didn’t ask me to do things for her because I could, rather, because she tried and needed help. Most things now don’t even require my help. She’s growing up and relying less on her parents. Such a weird feeling to be proud of her accomplishments and sad that they don’t directly include you anymore.

  9. August 22, 2016 at 8:43 am

    All these milestones are wonderfully happy and sad as they walk, then run, then ride toward their futures…and away from us. That means you are doing your job right. 🙂

  10. August 22, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    Aww, I can’t wait until Munch doesn’t ride with training wheels. Best wishes for Lil D’s new school year. I hope he has an awesome second grade year!

  11. August 25, 2016 at 11:50 am

    I had tears welling up in my eyes reading this and I don’t have children.

  1. September 29, 2016 at 4:21 pm

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