I have to admit that when it comes time to doing the little things that typical parents do, like teaching their kids to ride their bikes, I tend to come up a bit short. Maybe that’s because my dad didn’t teach me how to ride a bike, or maybe it’s because I’m lazy.
When I was 4 years-old my mom and I would hangout at a friend’s house while my older sister was in school. My friend had a long sloping driveway and his very own bike. All my other friends had already learned how to ride a bike and I was pretty sick of trying to keep up with them while using my training wheels I decided that it was time for me to learn to ride a bike, and if nobody was going to be there to push me as I learned, I’d use my friend’s sloping driveway instead.
For the next several visits, I stayed outside by myself and used my friend’s bike. I would hop on it at the top of his driveway and launch myself down the hill until I came to the bottom. At the end, I would usually crash into some bushes because I couldn’t figure out how to make a turn out of the driveway and into the road.
Finally after a few days of practice, I made that turn around the end of the driveway and took off down the road. I pedaled that bike around the block and back up my friend’s driveway.
When my mother got me back home, I demanded that she take off my training wheels. She had no idea that I had taught myself how to ride a bike so she was a little leery of complying with my demands. And she was shocked when I climbed on my training wheel-less bike and took off around down the road as if I had known how to ride a bike for years.
So when it came time for Addie to learn how to ride a bike, I’m pretty sure that there was a part of me that thought she could figure it out on her own. A little perseverance and determination never hurt anyone, right?
I spent a few days last year trying to teach the kid how to ride a bike, but nothing much came from the lessons. Addie had given up and I decided that when Addie was ready to learn, I’d find her a nice hill for her to ride down all on her own until she figured it out—just like I had done.
However my mother had different plans and while Casey and I were on our week long cruise. My mom’s first task as a babysitter was teaching Addie how to ride a bike. She apparently ran behind Addie, trying to help her balance, all the while carrying a 27 pound baby on her hip. After just a couple tries, Addie had it down and she was off like she had known how to ride a bike for years.
Addie was excited to show Casey and me her newest trick. As soon as we pulled up in the driveway, Addie zipped out of the house like a rocket, hugged her mother, showed me a chalk picture of herself getting eaten by a fire-breathing dragon, and then she hopped on her bike and took off around the circle.
We were both pretty amazed at what our little girl had learned while we were gone. I am pretty thankful that my mother was able to get Addie riding a bike because I had been feeling pretty guilty about that for the past several months.
Although the guilt that will come from failing to teach Addie to ride a bike will probably never leave, Addie will always have that memory of learning to ride her bike with her grandma Tyse and I think that makes the guilt worth it.
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