It had coaster brakes and only one gear. I got it used. The twenty-inch, black frame showed its age. It was scratched and nicked from years of use, but I didn’t care. It was mine now.
My tricycle stood by the front steps of our house – forgotten. In the front yard, I held the handlebars, swung my right leg over and settled myself onto the seat. My legs weren’t long enough for both to touch the ground at the same time. I leaned to one side – one foot supported me. I looked around, made sure no one was watching and kicked off. My feet reached for the pedals and began to pump.
After a few wobbly yards, I fell off, and landed on my shoulder in the grass. I jumped up, brushed myself off, got back on and fell again.
A week later, I rode in circles around the yard, always to the left. I didn’t wobble or fall. I was steady, as I followed the beaten trail I’d created in the grass. The wind created by my movement cooled my sweat stained face.
I was free and I was flying.
‘Michael!’ Mom called. ‘Supper is ready!’
I turned toward the front steps, wobbled and fell to the ground. I didn’t know how to go straight or to the right. I’d learned to travel in circles to the left.
One day I became brave. ‘Mom, I’m going to take my bike to Grandma’s.’
‘Are you sure?’ she asked.
‘I can do it, Mom.’
Grandma lived at the bottom of a short hill from our house. I’d walk there often, but when I sat on my bike at the top of that hill, it seemed much higher than I remembered.
I put my feet in the pedals and started to roll. My speed increased. I pushed back on the pedals, braking to a halt, stepped off and walked my bike to the bottom. On level ground, I got back on my bike and pedaled to Grandma’s.
‘Did you see me, Grandma? I brought my bicycle! Did you see me?’
Grandma hugged me. ‘I saw you, Michael. You did well, but I saw you walk your bike down the hill. It’s scary not having control, but you’ll get it right. You’re getting so big. When you’re older, you’ll be bicycling all over the place. I’m proud of you.’
‘Do you have any cookies?’ I asked.
She laughed. ‘You know where they are.’
I ran to her pantry. In the cupboard was a plate filled with fresh baked cookies – my favorite.
Grandma was right. I did learn to go left, right and straight. A year later, I was bicycling all around the neighborhood.
At twenty years old, I left home. It was a lonely time in my life. Mom wasn’t there. It was time to learn how to turn again.
I married and I stumbled. There was someone else to think about – new turns to stumble through.
I’ve floundered through life. When I thought I had it right, life pushed me in another direction. I’ve wobbled, stumbled and fallen. Each time I fell, I got up, brushed myself off and turned around the obstacle.
Each time I think I’m on a straight road, life throws a turn in front of me.
I may fall, but I always climb back on my seat.
That’s what we do; get back on the seat….life is hard at times, but looking back, we can see there are lessons as well. Maybe you have a lesson to share. If so, share it with me, share it with others. 🙂