Placing my hands on the handlebars, I lifted the small white bike from the gravel. Small whimpers quietly escaped my daughter’s lips, making their way into my ears as I dusted the dirt and small stones from her pants. “You okay, honey?” I asked, keeping my tone low. She nodded, gently wiping her nose. Looking up, I watched as her two friends expertly cruised on their bikes, maybe twenty yards away, around the tree-lined parking lot. “You’ll get this, baby,” I whispered. “It just takes time.” She nodded again.
Meanwhile, I looked on and observed my younger daughter setting up her pedals, getting ready to try again. For over thirty-five minutes now, the four girls had been biking around the empty bus lot; two girls who knew how to ride, two who desperately wanted to learn. Living on a road with no sidewalks and on which traffic often traveled at high speeds has not made for friendly bike-riding territory. Consequently, my girls have yet to achieve that magical milestone of balance. Unlike their two friends who had come to visit with their bicycles.
But I watched, as time after time again, my girls tried; sometimes alone, sometimes with help from me, sometimes with help from their friends. “Here, try this.” “You want me to push you?” “Try to keep your weight in the middle.” “You almost had it!” And yes, frustration reared its head on many occasions. But we celebrated small successes, especially when my girls’ faces turned to look at me beaming. “Four pedals, Papa, did you see that?!” Yes honey, I saw it. So proud.
An hour later, we left the parking lot, my girls still unable to remain upright on their bikes. But the perseverance they showed…that’s got to be worth something, right?