Monday, August 20, 2007

Free Wheelin'...

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.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for that. You brought tears to my eyes.

On piece of advice: Savor it while you can. Before you know it your kids will have their own kids and you'll be relegated to phone calls and occasional visits.

I don't regret teaching my kids self-responsibility and self-reliance one bit. But sometimes I miss those days when they really really needed their dad.

NotClauswitz said...

Now you just gotta teach him about target-fixation, countersteering, and "looking where you want to go". ;-)

BobG said...

Very cool. Now the worries begin...

Anonymous said...

Nicely written, JG.


Strings said...

and in a few years, it'll be "Dad, can I take your bike on my date?"

Enjoy this while it lasts, bro!

Jay G said...


Thanks for the kind words. This was one of my more thoughtful pieces. You can tell because the profanity is kept to a minimum. :)

Believe me, I am savoring it now. I know it's only a few short years before he won't want to be seen in public with the old man...


Oh, believe me, that's all in the plan... Y'see, he needed to get on two wheels unmotorized before I get him the Honda Cub. And if he's riding the Cub, well I guess I'll just have to pick up a Kawasaki KLR650 to ride with him, right?



The worries started before he was born. They've been intensifying ever since.

Thanks Mike. Sometimes, if I really, really try, I can rise above my chimp-like scribblings... ;)


Thanks man. Although I have to admit, the first thought that went through my head about him borrowing the bike was "it's a lot harder to get a girl pregnant on a motorcycle than in a roomy cage"... ;)