I got a blue banana seat bicycle the Christmas after I turned seven. It had big curved handlebars and a white basket on the front with brightly colored plastic flowers attached. I didn’t know how to ride a bicycle, and I was scared to death to give it a try.
A few months later we moved from our very small apartment into a house out in the country that my parents had built. My uncle and aunt lived up the dirt road from us. They had two children, a boy exactly one year older than me and a girl a couple of years younger. Our houses were separated by a couple of wooded lots. Some days I would cut through the woods to their house on a trail we had worn down, but most days I would run down the road.
After a while, my Dad decided that it was time for me to learn how to ride the bike I had gotten for Christmas. I don’t remember if it was spring or summer, but I do recall the feeling of trepidation that centered in my gut as I balanced on the bike at the end of the driveway while he held the seat.
None of the instructions or encouraging words he may have whispered come back to me, but if they did they probably would be along the lines of “ride or fall.” My dad had always been of the “sink or swim” philosophy. He lived his life in a go big or go home style, and he didn’t expect anything less from me.
All I remember is sitting on the seat, sweaty hands gripping the handlebars, one knee up and the other extended, a push, and success.
I can not recall a lot of things my daddy taught me, but when I was seven years old, he did teach me how to ride a bike.
The next post in this series is something I’ve already written, The Moment I Grew Up.
Note: This will be a new series I’m writing. Some of it will not be pretty, but it is time for me to set these memories free. Mistakes were made by everyone so please read with a soft heart and forgiveness so that I may forgive myself for my part. Some people will probably think that I should not write this, but I offer up two quotes from Anne Lamott for the reason why I should.
If people wanted you to write warmly about them they should have behaved better.
Forgiveness is giving up all hope of having had a better past.
I will be linking these posts up with Heather of the Extraordinary Ordinary for Just Write because that is the only way I will be able to get them out… to just write.