Tuesday, June 2, 2009

And he rides.

I love this child.

Ah, Max. A middle born in every way, my sweet boy got a little bit older yesterday. A little bit more independent. A little bit more like his big brother. Yesterday, we bid farewell to his training wheels.

The idea was all his, as he sat around the kitchen table early in the afternoon and said, quite matter-of-fact in his four-year old voice, "I'm having dad take my training wheels off of my bike. Then I'm going to ride around in the grass. And after that I am going to just go really, really fast."

Really fast.

I remember late November 2006, Max's wispy blond locks blowing every which way, his sherpa patagonia vest (my favorite kid's clothing item ever) zipped up tight in the late fall wind. We'd just handed down Noah's old Red Flyer tricycle, and there was a look of sheer determination in Max's eyes. A look that said, "I don't care if my feet don't touch the pedals. I'm makin' this work."

And he did.

Now I find myself standing in front of that same Red Flyer, only it isn't Max messing around with the handlebars and pedals. It's Lizzie.

Max is zooming up and down the driveway, his training wheels wobbling and buckling under his speed. Yes, I thought to myself, he's ready. So soon.

Justin came home from work early and set about making a true two-wheeler. There was so much excitement in the air.

I found myself skipping between video camera and still frames, trying to hide my need to protect, to control the situation from behind the lens as I watched Justin run alongside, and let go, Max teetering and toppling over again and again.

My natural instinct was to run alongside yelling things like "Justin! Hold him tighter!" and "Careful, Max! Careful!" But everytime he fell, he had a face that said "I. Love. This."

So I bit my lip. I watched a group of ants scrambling in and out of a pile of sand along the side of our driveway. I took a breath and looked up as Max screamed out my name.

And this is what I saw:

I so, so, so love being a mama.


Lora said...

I remember that day in my life!
Even though my parents didn't love me enough to let me have training wheels (but my brother was allowed, go figure) they always made me ride in the grass until that one day when I was ready.

I went all the way down the street and then fell off and cut my head open on the mailbox while turning into the driveway. But I didn't care. I. Rode. My. Bike.

Congratulations, Mommy. You did it!

Heather said...

My exceedingly cautious boy, age 7.5, just finally did the same thing, and within a few hours was zipping around the house as fast as his sisters. I determined to say out of the way lest I share my fear and nervousness with him. And he did it. But that standing back and staying out of the way, letting them fall, is SO hard!

Joy said...

what a great series of photos! He's going to be so glad you documented this one day. I know what you mean by that last sentence. Watching my kids soar is certainly one of the many perks of this job. :)

Kat said...

Oh that last picture just makes me cry! What victory!

Casey said...

I remember that day in my life too.

castaway said...

Kate, this is just the best ... thanks ... so glad that Donna and I could get to know you and your family ... hats off to Max!

Mel said...

Oh Kate I had a big lump in my throat reading that so I can only imagine what you must have felt! Great photos and story - thanks for sharing such a momentous occasion and well done Max!

patsyrose said...

Beautiful story. Beautiful photos. I'm so glad your writing skills give us a chance to follow your family in this way. I wish I'd had your wisdom when I was raising my own children.

Sus said...

Okay, I am weeping over that last picture. Talk about a victory. Frame that one big somewhere, k?

Well done, Max! I think he and Frannie are destined: she will still be on training wheels - I mean, her big wheel - when she is riding to class in college, I swear. She needs a Max.

Brooke G. said...

Congrats to Max! What a BIG boy. That is so exciting. I think I may see this day in my future soon. My four year old has worn one of his training wheels down to a little knub. Soon, there will be nothing left!!! I will surely be there to document the big day. Hope my pics are as cute as yours -I LOVE the last one!!

Linnea said...

Yea Max! Yea Mama! It does not get an easier to let them go- from walking to bikes to the bigger things to come. I tend to think the practice of letting go is to help us parents even more than our little ones. Sweet pictures!

A Little Gnocchi said...

go, Go, GO! Max and Lizzie. Yeah Mama for letting them fly!

We have that same red flyer trike back in Tucson and before we left Ila was at about the same stage with toes barely touching the pedals. Can't wait to get back and see how she does now.

Hillary said...

I just found your blog. Lovely!

What great pictures! Your boy has the best eyes and I love dad pumping his fists. Isn't it amazing to experience the milestones with them :-)