I suppose with the new FELT Cafe24 Deluxe around, my newly minted five year old was feeling a little complacent as she was (key word here) still sporting training wheels on the 14 inch Schwinn girls bike we bought her some time back. Considering the little darling was victim of my recent purchase in that she was forced to stand at attention during the seemingly long time I spent at the specialty store looking over the Cafe24, I mentioned to her that when she could ride her Schwinn without the 3rd and 4th wheels, I would purchase her a Specialized bicycle like her older sisters. Ahhhhh, incentives go a long way with a driven five year old little girl! This was Wednesday.....
On Saturday of that same week, realizing that even a neighbor girl was riding without the extra wheels of balance, the five year old came to me and said that she did not want to be the only girl around with training wheels. Reinforcement of the incentive I presuppose. Again, I told her that when "she" was ready, we would remove the extra wheels and she could ride on the two big wheels only. Again, I mentioned the new bike we would buy her upon successful completion of the defiance of the extra wheels on her current bike.
What happened next will be a memory I will never forget. My beautiful five year old daughter Ryli looked me square in the eyes, and without any hesitation stated to me in a very reaffirming voice "I am going to ride my bike without training wheels tomorrow (Sunday). Will you take my training wheels off my bike?"
Sunday morning came, and I did not make mention of Saturday evening's good tidings of the vocal nature, as I wanted Ryli to approach me with it as "her idea..." In the DeArmond family, it is crucial that all ideas to be acted upon are of the female nomenclature (I have learned this over 10 beautiful years of marriage to their mother, respectively). Mid morning came and, I took them for a bike ride to their Grand Parents. I on the Cafe24, Maci on her 20 inch Specialized, and Miss Ryli on her 14 inch Schwinn with training wheels still attached. No mention from Ryli regarding the extra wheels.
I didn't say a thing. I went for an extended bike ride alone after dropping the kiddos off at their PapPap and MeMe's. Finished my bike ride and went fishing in the afternoon. On my way home from the fishing adventure, I phoned the girls to see how their day went. They had fun and were playing with a science experiment.
As I drove into the garage, I noticed something different about the 14 inch Schwinn. It was, for the first time within its product life cycle, laying on its side. PapPap (the mechanic) had listened to the Ryli request to remove the training wheels. Ryli ran out in the garage and informed me of the request she made of the grand parent, but, told me that she didn't really want to pedal it, she just wanted to scoot around on the Schwinn. I informed her it is more fun to pedal the bike as opposed to scooting around on it......"Let's go for a bike ride!!!"
Ryli moved her legs back and forth to and fro, scooting around; sometimes with both feet off the ground for an extended period of time...but, no pedaling. I knew we were close, but, I am also aware that it must be.....has to be....her idea. So, I walked and followed her, just in case she needed me. She was building speed, but, just shy of the crucial "take off" point where balance and power seem to magically allow one to thrust forward on a bike. I worked with her for what seemed like an hour (in reality, it was probably a matter of minutes). I asked if she needed my help, repeatedly, to which she replied, "nope, I got it."
Finally, when she had decided she wanted to pedal.....she was off......she was gone down the street under her own power, pedaling her first revolutions toward a new found freedom. I stood in amazement watching a turning point in the life of my precious little girl. I stood in amazement to the fact that she "called it" so perfectly the night before that she would ride the following day without the assistance of the two extra three and a half inch wheels bolted to the back of the Schwinn. I stood in amazement, tears running down my face, that she, like her sister Maci who came before her just three short years earlier, made riding a bicycle look so easy.
Life is amazing. It has a way of taking us through many stages as we grow and learn from its experiences. This experience taught me something so precious, so reinforcing, so wonderful, so Godly. Even for a five year old girl of only 50 pounds...a positive attitude is all it takes to accomplish a major stepping-milestone in life. Oh, and I guess I am going back to the specialty bike shop, this time to bring home a new Specialized bike for Ryli ;-)
"Attitude is everything people."