If you look closely, you’ll see that Milin’s feet are on the pedals. Both feet, that is. Both pedals.
We took his beautiful Radio Flyer out of its winter hibernation spot in the shed last week. When the weather got all wintery on us at the end of last year, Milin still couldn’t reach the pedals so the trike was put away while we waited for him to grow. Milin’s daddy had bought it when our little boy was just 18 months old. We knew he was too little for it then, but we wanted to get him something special when Jasmin was born.
And then, just this week, he climbed onto the seat and put his feet on the pedals. He must have grown a fair bit over the winter and spring, because he could suddenly reach far enough to keep both feet on both pedals while pushing them round. And he somehow knew exactly how to do it.
His daddy held on to the handle at the back of the trike while Milin experimented with it on the deck. I don’t think he’s quite ready for the pavement or the park just yet, but he’s close. He’s got the hang of steering – which he needs to be able to do as we have no control via the handle – and he’s just got the pedalling action too.
Watching Milin learn that he needs to keep both feet on the pedals, and that he must push down with one leg while he pulls back with the other, made me think about learning to ride a bike. I can still remember the first time I made it through the park without stabilisers. Mum was at one end of the path, dad was at the other – and with my breath held, I made it. I can still feel the sense of achievement, the awe, and the wonder at what I’d done. It was a big deal to me then. It meant I was somehow ‘big’ and not just a very little girl anymore I thought.
While Milin learnt to keep his feet on the pedals this week, I had a vision of him some years from now, on a bike in the park, learning to ride without stabilisers. I saw him in my mind, so proud of himself for getting the hang of it – just as he was so proud of figuring out the trike. In my little daydream, I saw Jasmin out there too. She was on a smaller bike, not yet ready to take off her training wheels, and I saw me and Tony, encouraging them both as they wobbled a bit along the path.
It’s funny, because I don’t wish away a second of the here and now – but seeing Milin on his trike suddenly made me excited about all that is ahead of our little family. We have a lifetime before us of doing things like learning to ride bikes. Our children will grow, and we will take them on our first family bike ride. We will take them to their first Saturday morning football practice. We will take them to the park to fly kites for the first time. We have so much ahead of us that is new, that will be exciting, that will be the stuff of memories.
My little boy, with his two feet on two pedals, also this week reminded me to appreciate the small things as well as the big. One day, he’ll ride a bike for the first time, but before that, he’ll learn to steer, to pedal, to be confident and brave. We have so much as a family to look forward to, and I’m determined to appreciate it all. Milin will one day be too big for his Radio Flyer and he’ll whizz past me on a bike without stabilisers. I want to hold in my mind every step of the journey that gets him there.