For sale: One pair of training wheels. Heavily used. No longer needed.
The boy is now riding an honest-to-goodness two wheeler. The training wheels that had been raised to their highest setting back in June are now laying on the concrete floor of the garage, plastic and metal flotsam reminiscent of a simpler time.
He has learned how to balance, how to start off and, more importantly, how to stop all on two wheels only. He has realized that dear ol' dad actually knows what he's talking about - I was telling him that he was ready for two wheels back in June when I raised the training wheels up.
He was ready, too - I took the wheels off at the park, after he had taken a short trip around the parking lot. He didn't hesitate for a second, but rather took off like a shot, a young boy reveling in his newfound freedom. I ran beside him as long as I could (thanking Gaia all the while for my new-found energy and slimmer body!), but even at my fastest jog I couldn't keep up with him.
There's a lesson in that, I just know it.
Every once in a while he'd stop, looking over his shoulder at the old man huffing and puffing behind him. He'd wait for me to catch up to him, then pedal off again, wind in his hair (through the helmet, of course) and freedom coursing through his quadriceps. He's on two wheels now. The world is a wide-open bike path ready for him to explore.
Inevitably we will face new challenges: skinned knees, traffic, daredevil instincts, etc. The first thing he asked me this morning was "Can I ride my bike today?" - he's loving the freedom of two wheels. I'm torn, though. Part of me wants to hold him tight, knowing that I can only truly keep him safe if he's home and under my care. The other part wants to set him free to fly, to experience life and learn, live, and be free.
Skinned knees heal. Caged spirits won't.
Be free, my son. I'll run along side you as long as I can, for as long as you'll have me.