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Riding a Bike

E-man hasn’t been on a bike in almost two years. Before that, he hadn’t been on a bike in 18 months…since the day we took the training wheels off his old bike.  He is afraid. He has a fear of heights. He has a fear of falling. He is terrified of getting hurt. He is convinced he is going to get hurt if he rides a bike. So, he doesn’t ride a bike. While his siblings and the neighbor kids spent much of the summer out riding around the neighborhood, he stayed staunchly inside, alone, bored, and sad. But he was unwilling to change his status. His fear conquered his desire to be out there. His fear took away his freedom.

A few weeks ago,  he told me he  might be ready to try to learn how to ride a two-wheeler. My heart skipped a couple of beats, but I was unwilling to  let myself believe we might be turning a corner on this subject. I told him Daddy would love to help him learn. (I put it in my husband’s hands because I know how much it would mean to him to be the one to teach  E how to ride his bike). He brought it up again the other day, and I told him to go ask Daddy (it being a Sunday and Daddy was home). And so, he did ask. I could see my husband beaming with pride from thirty feet away.

They quickly determined E’s bike, bought for him for his 8th birthday almost two years ago, was too tall. He was unwilling to stay on long enough to even try. His toes just touched the ground. But a neighbor boy happened to be here with his bike, which is a few inches shorter than E’s bike. He let E borrow it to try it out.


Within ten minutes, E was confidently cruising down the street, turning around and coming back. He tipped a few times, but got his foot down before falling. I wish I could put into words the smile on his face. We’ve had so few wins lately. The enormity of this moment….I had to go back in the house to hide my tears.

Last night, we made a trip to the sporting goods store to get a shorter bike for E. He said he couldn’t wait to get home from school today so he can ride his new bike, all by himself. He even asked last night if he may start riding his bike to school – we told him not until we’re pretty confident in his riding ability, particularly as he would have to ride up, and across, a four-lane busy street.

I think we are finding our good place again. I think he is coming to level again. He hasn’t even taken his stuffed shark to school with him in over a week, another sign of progress. We still have tons of work to do. He glanced at the computer monitor as I was writing last week and saw the title of my blog. He asked why he is called the “work in progress.” Ugh. I told him because he, like his siblings, is a work in progress, and that it’s just a title. He was somewhat offended. I told him to come up with a better title for himself. Hah! But these small things give me hope. The last seven weeks have been intensely terrible. We could all use a little sunshine, E most especially. He’s riding a bike!!!

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