She’s a great rollerblader, but biking has never been an interest of Eva’s. Truthfully, she has resisted bike riding like crazy. Maybe I took off her training wheels too early, or maybe she felt so very successful at rollerblading that she didn’t see the need to face the challenge of something new. Now eight, and feeling a bit uncomfortable when the topic of biking come up, she has realized that riding a bike is inevitable. Like it or not, she is going to have to do it.
“I’ll get you a new bike for your birthday”…..”or Christmas” or, or, or. Maybe it was the fact that there were princess on her bike that kept her from riding it? There couldn’t be any more excuses, today was the day. “What are we going to do Mom?” “It’s a surprise, can’t tell ya!” I gave a clenched-tooth smile, fearful that telling them the truth would result in some serious whining. Loaded in the van, I used my most enthusiastic voice and revealed, “we’re going to go buy new bikes!” Grunts. That was a flop, but at least we were in the car. “And we’re going to get really yummy snacks!” Mediocre nods of approval came from the back seat–I’ll take it. Stopping at the store, I got multiple beverages and “energy food” for our big day. Stop two, the sporting good store. Success. We had the bikes, the helmets, the snacks, a coffee (I had a feeling this would take every ounce of my energy and positivity), and a wide open parking lot. Not for the first time and certainly not for the last, Eva blew me away, she was incredible. Once she started, she was determined. In about 30 minutes, she was cruising. Wobbly cruising, but she did it!
Last week she woke early every day so that she could ride to school while I putted behind her on my scooter. I would give her directional commands, words of encouragement, reminders of her strength and positioning, all the while keeping a lookout to see who was around us in order to keep her safe and not embarrass her with my mom-ish words. On our way home Friday, I was squealing with pride. I may have even let out a little “woo hoo!” but quickly gathered my composure. “Mom?” Eva glanced over her shoulder. Oh man, I did it now. She is going to want to do this on her own. Did she hear me? “Mom, I love you.” What? I know that she loves me, but that was the last thing I expected to hear at that moment. I was shocked and oh so touched. At that very moment, I believed that my goofy eight year old recognized the time and effort I put into being her mother. I have no doubt that this realization will be short lived, but for that second I was able to make a connection with her. One of strength and power and unconditional love.