Last week, we decided to take advantage of a very pleasant evening and ride our bikes out to dinner. Maxon was finally motivated to ride his new bike, which even with the pedals removed is daunting since it is significantly heavier than his trusty Strider bike. It is also a taller than the highest setting on his Strider bike so he spent most of the ride pushing off with only his right foot. Coupled with the weight of the bike, he really struggled up some of the hills but he made it to dinner with no real complaints and no threat of giving up and getting in the bike trailer with Cooper. The ride home is basically a slow uphill journey and it made for a much slower trip with more sighing and frustration. Still, he pressed on and never hinted that he wanted to quit. I promised him that once we got to the ramp to get off the path before our house (intimidating by bike even for me) he could get off his bike and I’d carry it the rest of the way. Once we got to the ramp, he insisted on taking his bike up that last little bit but he wanted to go “off trail” and on the grass instead. I was ordered to continue up the path and to wait at the top. I figured he had a plan and the determination, so who was I to stop that?
First he veered way off to the right where the slope looked much flatter and started his way up but soon got stuck when his strength and momentum gave out. I thought after the first try he’d be ready for me to take over so I started walking over to him and he quickly commanded I stay near my bike as he struggled with his. He continued, attempt after failed attempt. The sun was rapidly setting and it was getting darker and darker. Every so often I’d walk toward him and again he’d wave me away. His audible frustration. My mounting impatience. Exasperation for us both. Just as I was about to pull rank and shut the whole thing down, he gutted it out with all he had left in his little 4-year-old body and made it up that final pitch that initially defeated him and now held victory over. I had never seen him stick with something for so long and with such force. It was awesome.
As promised, he did not have to bike the last block home. Glowing in his triumph under his oversized bike helmet, he ran the rest of the block home. I placed his bike on top of mine, utterly surprised at how heavy his bike really was. I walked them both home, heavy in my hands but light with such pride in my heart.