A few weeks ago, my husband took our daughter up to the local playground to give bike riding with no training wheels a try. We thought we were a little late to the bike riding game, so we wanted to give her a few months to practice in hopes that she’d be confident on two wheels by the summer. Much to our amazement, she learned to ride in about a half hour.
We know we are very fortunate that she picked this up so quickly, but what I didn’t realize is how this bike of hers has given her a new found sense of independence. One where she throws on her helmet, looks both ways before leaving the driveway, and heads up and down the street with her dress and little brother trailing behind her.
Now, realizing that she is a little younger than most of the other two wheeled crew in the neighborhood, I am struggling to let my little girl venture out into the world. While making older friends and clearly earning a little ‘street cred’ in the neighborhood, I wanted a little more time to teach her all of the things that come with this new found sense of independence. We haven’t talked about “stranger danger” or about “rules of the road” or how it’s kind of weird to ride by a friend’s house fifty times when there are no cars home in hopes that they will magically appear if you wish for it hard enough.
Her maturity level at five is very different than that of a seven or eight year old. But, I’m quickly realizing that it’s up to us to let her try new things, to allow her to fall and hopefully get back up, and to start to see how the world looks without us there to guide her every step of the way. I know she will learn a lot and all the time that we’ve spent raising her is for occasions just like this one. But from one parent to another, it is hard to watch my first baby pedaling faster and faster each day as my heart rides down the street on that little princess bike.