Sunday, October 6, 2013

Bicycles & Wonder

I stood out on the drive way of my brother's house, watching his two kids. They had their little bikes out, spinning up and down that concrete strip.

My nephew just turned three. He doesn't really ride his bike, he just pushes with his feet along the ground while sitting on the seat. It's more of a shuffling approach.

A Younger Lijah

"Hey, Lijah, put your feet on the pedals bud." I told him.

Lifting his feet he put them on the pedals and pushed down hard on both at once - a look of fierce determination on his face. He didn't move.

I reached down and pushed on one foot, then told him to press down the other. He altered his pressure painfully slow from his left to his right, creeping forward. After about three minutes, he went back to happily shuffling again.

There are some things that we do so often that we don't even realize that they were once unknown and had to be learned. I was too young to remember my first steps and I don't recall learning to pedal clearly either. But I do remember my big sister teaching me to pump my legs, propelling myself back and forth on the swing set. I remember learning how to ride without training wheels. My first attempt was downhill at a park by our house. It ended disastrously as I veered off the path, headlong into a cherry tree. It took time.

One of the greatest joys of being an Aunt is re-experiencing a discovery of the world. I have a Ray Bradbury quote tacked up on a cork board at home - the first line reads "stuff your eyes with wonder." I can see that's what my little nephews and niece are doing when I watch them. The little breakthroughs are huge milestones of progression in their lives.

When I see Lijah bike, or my baby nephews start to take their first steps; I see in their smiles that they are saying 'Look at me, look at all that I am capable of!'

I hope they never lose that sense of wonder about themselves.