When Little Man taught himself to ride a bike with no training wheels yesterday, I was standing chatting with a neighbor and watching him out of the corner of my eye. He was having a hard time at first, struggling over and over to get the bike going before he started to fall sideways and catching himself just in time. I started out helping him, but, honestly? Bending over that far and keeping the bike straight up while running next to him? I wasn't so good at it. The bike wobbled -- it wobbled a lot. And having me in control (in name, anyway) of the bike seemed to make L.M. nervous. Finally he wanted to try it by himself, so I let him.
I had mentioned earlier that everyone falls once or twice while they are learning to ride a bike, and he was appalled. "I don't want to fall! I'm not going to fall," he declared, and I thought, "Oh, sure you will. Why is falling so terrible?" but I let it go. Weirdly, though, he didn't.
Within what seemed like a short amount of time -- an hour or two? -- he was making it 3 feet -- 5 feet -- 10 feet before starting to lose balance. And then he was zipping up and down the street, only losing it sometimes while turning, but otherwise fine. Still chatting with my neighbor, I watched and applauded him, "You're doing great, honey!" My attention was only partly distracted, because I really was beaming with pride at his determination and success.
Even so, I almost missed it. He said it quietly, to himself really, and I was in the middle of a story and only watching him peripherally, but I did catch it with some part of my mind. Because I didn't respond at the time, but later I woke up and remembered that moment and had that experience I've never been able to put properly into words. I didn't get tears in my eyes, but I was -- halted somehow -- in everything: breathing, thinking, feeling. Lost in wonder. Grateful. What he had said so quietly to himself was,
"I have dreamed of this."
What I saw, yesterday, with my very own eyes, was my son experiencing, literally, a dream come true.