Arthur learned to ride a two wheeler the other day. Henry taught him while I watched through the dining room window.
Learning to ride a bike was one of those things that had me in a panic after Bob died. I always imagined he would be the one teaching the boys this important life skill. I had visions of him running passed me on the sidewalk holding the back of the teetering bike and shouting encouraging words with that calm patient tone he had.
Instead, one evening during a block party Henry, newly five, marched past me with a wrench in one hand and his bike in the other.
"The training wheels are coming off," he announced, his blue eyes full of determination.
Moments later he rode passed me on the sidewalk. No teetering, just focused power and freedom on his face.
Arthur has been a bit slower to warm up to the physical part of life and needed some motivating to remove the training wheels. Once off, however, he was out on the sidewalk with his helmet on trying to run and jump on his bike like his neighbor friend had showed him. I quickly assessed the frustration on his face and called out to him to wait until I got some clothes on so I could come run behind him and offer those words of encouragement. (probably not as calm and patient as Bob would have been but my own version of encouragement....something like "Put the peddle to the metal buddy, you have to pick up the pace if you are going to get anywhere" type stuff. That's encouraging right?)
But before I could get through the dining room I heard Henry out on the driveway with Arthur. Had I not seen the two boys out there with my own eyes I would have thought that Bob was back from beyond to fulfill this parenting milestone he had so rudely left me with.
"Now Arthur," Henry explained thoughtfully, "it's all about momentum. Momentum is gravity's enemy."
This information was followed up by a visual presentation of a bike making a turn. As the bike neared the curve he explained that the faster the bike was going the less likely it was to fall over.
Arthur listened and nodded and then took off on his bike very slowly and cautiously. He, of course, fell right over.
"Momentum, Arthur," Henry continued, "just remember, it is all about momentum."
Giving Arthur a swift push the next time he sailed down the driveway and the boys counted the number of peddles together. One, two, three, four.
"OK, Arthur, let's see if you can get to five next time. Always remember.....momentum is gravity's enemy."
I leaned out the window in my robe and cheered as Arthur got to seven peddles the next time. Bob couldn't have done a better job, and now these brothers will always have this memory, when Henry taught Arthur how to ride a bike.
And Henry taught me about the importance of momentum.
When life threatens to pull me down with it's unexpected twists and turns, I will just keep moving. Proceed as best I can. Don't just sit there and look at the lemons, make the lemonade right? Because momentum is gravity's enemy.
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