There were two goals for the summer: have fun (me too, not only the kids) and get Clover riding a bike. There are some big downsides to living on a hill with narrow, jagged roads and one is that the kids cannot play in the street, which severely restricts playing with anything on wheels. To ride a scooter or a bike, we need to drive to the local elementary school. We used to let the kids ride plasma cars in the house, but once they started turning plasma car play into a demolition derby that seemed destined to ruin my furniture, we retired the cars to the garage. Hill life means the kids are behind the curve when it comes to bike riding, which normally I can live with, but I've felt really guilty lately.
When I told Clover about my goal for her, she was nervous and told me that it was going to be hard and she didn't know if she could do it. When we took her to the local school to practice for the first time, we pulled the tiny, 12" little girl's bike with training wheels attached out of our car and soon spotted a group of kids Clover's age racing around of much bigger bikes. I felt bad as the other kids looked over and zoom by while Clover slowly and wobbly pedaled her bike, with her knees rising above the handle bar. Luckily she wasn't bothered by the other kids or the difference in skill level. The next week we went back with the same small bike, but without training wheels, and she conquered it. She was riding her tiny bike without fear. She still likes the pedals to be just right before she takes off, but after that, she's golden.
Watching Clover overcome her fear and learn a skill she thought was too hard for her to master, was a great moment in parenting. It was hard not to cry as she took off for the first time, beaming and a little shaky. The wobbliness decreased with each ride, but her smile did not fade. It was more fun than either of us had imagined.
The summer was full of fun and many surprises, one of which is a new project I started with friends, all of whom happen to be amazing writers. Much like Clover with her bike, it's been a little stressful and has felt insurmountable, but we kept at it. This week, after all of the nervous pushing behind the bike, we finally let go, held our breath and watched what happened.
We found that this girl can ride. Introducing Silicon Valley Mamas!