A few months ago, our family moved to Peachtree City. I was so eager to explore the golf cart paths. While we were waiting to close on our house, I spent many a time daydreaming about letting my daughter ride her bike in front of me while I pushed her little brother in the stroller. We moved in September, so I had grand visions of spending the fall outdoors, her on her bike, me on foot behind her. I guess I should mention that I am currently losing weight, and moving meant leaving my workout buddy (and the accountability to meet her at the gym every day) behind, but I knew all of those walking trails in our new hometown were just waiting for me to stomp on them -and whittle my waistline at the same time.
I bet you’re chuckling now to yourself, because we all know how those grand visions turn out, right?
A couple of weeks after we moved in, we took our inaugural ride around the block.Stroller? Check. Comfy clothes? Check. Snacks & drinks for the kids? Check.
What I wasn’t expecting, however, was that my daughter would be hesitant to ride her bike. She’s had a big wheels trike since she was 2, and loved to ride it around our old apartment complex. She got a “big girl” tricycle a few months before we moved and had ridden it a few times, on days that it wasn’t 102 degrees at 7am last summer.
My grand plan went all wrong. She was scared to ride on the street. She was scared to go up the hills. She was scared to go down the hills. She was terrified that she was going to fall off her bike, and she was scared that she wouldn’t remember to use her brakes. I was impatient and frustrated. She’s had experience on a bike for 2 years now!! Why all the whining about it now? Par for the sometimes over dramatic existence of any four year old, she even blurted out the words, “I hate this! This is the worst day ever!”
I looked at my watch. We’d been gone 10 minutes. I was starting to agree with her.
After that day, I vowed that it would be a long time before I asked her to go on a bike ride with me, and, unfortunately, my motivation to go for daily walked waned as well. She would ride her bike in the garage and sometimes in the cul-de-sac that faced our house, but that was it.
We turned a corner last week, however.
My son just turned 18 months, so I think the window of time that I can say I’m losing the baby weight is about to slam shut. As we all know, it’s been absolutely beautiful outside, with no reason to spend the sunshine hours stuck in the house.
So, I decided to give it another try. I didn’t want to pressure her, but what’s a childhood without a bike to ride it on? As I thought back to our last outing, I was ashamed to admit that the reason it had been such a big fat failure was because I was too pushy, too insistent that she enjoy it, and too impatient to let her take her time.
This time, though, we started out slow. As we came over the first (small) hill, she was afraid to go down it so she pushed her bike down. One of the streets in our neighborhood is on a downhill slope one way, so halfway down I casually mentioned that she’d been going downhill this whole time. “Mommy, this is fun!” she yelled out. After that, there was really no stopping her.
Since then, we’ve gone for a bike ride/stroller walk just about every day. She is loving it, and so am I-especially since I’m getting a workout in trying to keep up with her!
Never have the words rang louder in my ears than with this experience, but, truly, the days ARE long….and the years are short. My new “grand vision” is that this will become a lifelong habit for us, but I’m just as content to soak up this new version of quality time.by