Thursday, August 22, 2013

It Happened!

"We all have our own life to pursue, 
our own kind of dream to be weaving...
And we all have the power to make wishes come true, 
as long as we keep believing."  
--Louisa May Alcott

Last Friday, after years and years of trying, five different bicycle camps, three different bicycles and a whole lot of wondering if it ever would happen...Patrick rode a bike.

He didn't just ride it for a short distance. He's been able to do that for awhile.  
He rode it for three miles...out on a green belt, to a duck pond and back.
He came home sweaty and wiped out...but he came back a bike rider.

Hot and sweaty...still needs to get home...but a bike rider none-the-less.

In his mind, during that ride, he made the leap.
He jumped over the mental hurdle.
He now believes he is a bike rider.
He feels it.  He knows it.
He freakin' did it!

When he rode up to our house,  I ran out the front door clapping and cheering and crying like the guy had just won MVP at the Superbowl and we were going to Disneyland.
I was jumping, hugging him, holding him by the shoulders and telling him so loud 
and so over-the-top how proud I was that he had done it.

He got that small, shy smile that they all get.
You know the one.
The smile is one part: 
"Hell yes. I know. I did it.  I'm awesome."
another part: "Still trying to wrap my head around it...hey, wait, I did it."
mixed in with a smidge of "It's really no big deal, don't know why you're freaking out."

He got embarrassed that I was making such a big deal about it.

Our neighbor who is Mr. Gruff, Let-Me-Ignore-Those-Crazies-Next-Door, actually walked across the street 
and shook Patrick's hand.

I swear that Patrick can thaw even the coldest of hearts.
It was another awesome cherry on an already huge sundae.

Sarah, Patrick's amazing aide and personal friend to all of us Forakers, was the one who helped seal the bike riding deal.
You see, when you're 14 and you know your mom wants you to really do something, you can't help it, you push back.  
It's just in your teen-age DNA to refuse.
So, I couldn't be a part of all.
Even though I really wanted to in my interfering-mom-knows-best way.

I had to hand it off, like the proverbial baton at the Olympic trials, and let her run.
The chick knows how to motivate.
She used every tactic available.
Donuts, music, cheerleading, videoing, deal-making...but mostly, her own belief that he could and would do it.

Day after day throughout the summer they practiced.
Day one was rough.
He couldn't get his balance.
He couldn't fit the bike.
He didn't believe he could do it...and so he didn't.

But, like the faithful friend she is, she just kept at it.
Kept encouraging.
Kept nudging.
Kept pushing...farther and farther.

Before we knew it, he started making the mental shift.
He started telling her that he could go further.
He started showing off.
She could no longer run beside him...she needed a bike too.
And that was the day they just rode and rode -- all the way out to that duck pond.

Yesterday, Patrick in the early morning suggested that we ride our bikes to school.
I smiled.
How do I say no to that?

He's still wobbly on the take off.
He still needs waaaaaay more practice with riding on the street and navigating traffic and other distractions...but he can do it.
Now all he needs are just hours under the belt.
Because now he believes.
He is a bike rider.

And we all know that being a bike rider is way more than having a new way of getting from Point A to Point B.  
Patrick got a little more freedom last Friday.
He got a ticket to expanding his world.
Just like the gift of learning to read, riding a bike affords him a little more independence and a whole new way of seeing the world.

I've been steeped in a full, grateful heart all week.
What can you say to someone who helped your child in such a profound way?
What can you give them to show your appreciation??

I gave her the only thing I had to give: my tears and my full heart.
I looked her in the eyes and told her that the day her first child rides a bike, maybe, just maybe, she will understand what she has helped to give Patrick.
But for now, all I can do is surround her with my love and appreciation every single time I go for a ride with Patrick.

I live in a bike riding town.  
You can bet that I'll be riding with Patrick all over the place...
each time I will send some sunshine Sarah's way -- she'll feel it.
I know it.

So today I'm grateful for two blessings: Patrick's own determination and ability to just keep trying...
no matter how many times it didn't work.
And I'm grateful for Sarah's enthusiasm, her coaching, and her perseverance through some 
hot, tiring days that looked awfully bleak.

Together they made it happen.
Unbelievable what friendship, faith and determination can do.
They make quite a team.


  1. LOVE this!! I wish someone here would bring Lose the Training Wheels! Emily is so like Patrick close.....we did LTTW once and she only needed ONE more day. And like you, there is no hope for me making her do it. Patrick is amazing. Sarah is amazing. What a huge amount of love and pride is shared between them!! GO PATRICK!!!

  2. Julie...thank you for your sweet words! :) Don't give up!! We were in the same exact situation and so that is where Sarah came in. There might be someone within your church or school community who would be willing to do the same thing Sarah did...which was basically just encourage and keep him steady in the beginning. It will happen for Emily...I know it! ~Beth