Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Saved by the Earth's Tilt

This summer, Jacob learned how to ride his two-wheeled bike. He actually had the bike the summer before, but had taken a few bad falls to heart. He pulled it out again toward the middle of the summer and finally took off. Since then, we've hardly been able to pull him off the bike. He rides between breakfast and school. He rides when we get home in the evening. He begs to ride to soccer practice. He is on that bike every spare moment of every day.

We meet friends at a local park sometimes, and Jake has started doing tricks down the big hill. He starts off from the top, pedaling hard, then when he reaches full speed he pulls up his legs and turns side-saddle. His elbows no longer have skin and his bicycle has endured a few repairs. I've found ways to get to the park without the bike for the moment. I obviously don't want him to get seriously hurt. At the same time, it's exhilarating to see a boy in his element speeding down a hill, sure of his own invincibility despite scabby knees that prove otherwise.

Jake started campaigning for more freedom a month or so ago. We allow him to ride around the corner to the alley to the east and halfway down the block to the west. He's already chafing at the end of his leash, though. He wants to go all the way around the block. Nick and I told Jacob that we'd think about it. We encouraged him to follow the rules we've set so that we know we can trust him. For a month, he has meticulously followed the rules. He goes as far as the lines we've drawn and no farther. He stays out of driveways and the alley. He carefully pulls to the side to let pedestrians pass. He is ready to go around the block.

And now, thank God, it's getting dark very early. By the time we get home, change our clothes, and catch up with each other it is twilight and too dark for Jake to be outside alone. I feel as though I've been granted a reprieve. I get to keep Jake close to home a little while longer. But I know that in the spring, he's going to be off. I'll have to sit by the front window and hold my breath until I can see him again and know that he is safe. I'm hoping for a nice, long winter.


Jen said...

That's great that he's found something he enjoys so much! I totally understand your apprehension though. Here's to a long winter!

Lisa said...

I wish Julian would take an interest in his bike! And I understand the nervousness at loosening the reins just a bit. I'm glad we live out in the country and there's really nowhere for Julian to go by himself that doesn't involve one of us driving him. (So does that mean the first big stress I'll have will involve a car?! Yikes.)

Christy said...

Jen - Jake pretty much likes anything that involves speed and the outdoors.

Lisa - Keep trying! He'll like the bike eventually.