Friday, October 22, 2010

The Bike Riding Memory

When Little Meems decided to learn to ride her two-wheeler, she decided she needed to do it RIGHT NOW.  And she wanted me to show her how.  Not her dad, who's responsibility this kind of activity is supposed to be.

Which had a bit of a lustre to it...her memory would be of her MOTHER teaching her to ride a bike.  I was starting to like the reputation I was going to have.  I mean, this would forever be a triumphant shared moment.  Us girls against the world out to prove that we can do whatever the boys can do.  Or maybe that was just me.

It did not turn out so well.

She fought me on every. single. instruction.  She insisted she could do it, then blamed me when she fell.  She refused to actually pedal until I stopped holding the seat, but she didn't want me to let go.  She didn't like trying in the grass; it was bumpy.  She didn't like trying in the street; it was scary.  And on a hill (a hill with maybe, just maybe, a 3 degree incline).

I tried to maintain patience.  I really did.

The situation quickly went downhill (on a much steeper grade than 3 degrees).  It was sweltering outside.  There was drama.  And screaming.  And crying.  And yelling.  And storming off.  And threats.  And more crying.  And more screaming.

Until finally there was just screaming.  "WELL, I DON'T WANT TO DO THIS!" (not true)  and "YOU MADE ME FALL." (also not true) and "I DON'T WANT TO RIDE A BIKE ANYWAY." (again, not true)."

Follwed by:  "FINE!" and "OH REALLY" and "FINE.  I PERSONALLY DON'T CARE IF YOU NEVER RIDE A BIKE."

And then we stormed off in different directions, her crying and me sweating profusely, my hair turned to wiry wisps and face red, muttering under my breath; her trying to pedal off on her bike in a huff, then upon realizing that she couldn't do that shuffling down the street in the opposite direction with her bike in between her legs.

My husband came outside to investigate the commotion.  It was not a pretty sight.  By this time, she had melted down in the middle of the street and was wailing, the bike still between her legs.  I saw him blanche when he saw my face -- I can only imagine what THAT must have looked like.  We had made a spectacle of ourselves in front of the whole neighborhood.

Mostly, though, I had.

It's not my proudest moment by any means, and even as I write this, I cringe.  I really hope no one witnessed the fiasco.  Everyone's been friendly to me ever since, so maybe we're safe.

Another precious mother/daughter memory down the tube.

Miraculously, later she came back to me and told me she was ready to go back outside and try to ride the bike.

"Why don't you ask your dad?"

"No, I want you."

And so we did.  And now we have a memory.  And it's salty AND sweet.

And that's OK, because it fits.  And it's ours.

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