Every time that we go out trail riding as a family, I come home with a little more amazement about how children learn to do things.
Riding along behind Chloe I’m so fascinated by watching her pick her lines through the terrain, making the decision of which mud she felt she could handle or which she should avoid. But, most of all there is a confidence that I really admire. A kid has the ability to just take everything in stride as it comes their way.
Have you ever been dusted by your own kid on a dirt bike? It’s the greatest thing ever. Cracks me up every time.
The big kids were out playing, too.
They amaze me for nearly the same reasons.
I on the other hand continue my streak of just falling over when there is nothing but air under one foot. My riding is much less glamorous and exciting than the folks I ride with. Pretty soon I think they’re going to outfit my helmet with a dunce cap attached to the top of it.
These motorcycles… I tell ya. They’re such a great way to share time with the people in your life. You learn so much more than just getting from point A to point B. <3
This year marked a big change that bridged the gap of family and motorcycles when my daughter Chloe started riding.
As a motorcycle lover and a parent the opportunity to ride motorcycles with your kid is nirvana. I wish that there was some way for me to open up my soul and channel out the feelings because I don’t have the power to put the words together that would adequately describe the greatness.
There were moments on our last ride that had me laughing and giving Chloe props out loud in my helmet. Watching her stand up, ready herself and then head for the lumps in the earth to take like a jump… it’s really a wonder that my head didn’t explode.
Riding in the woods, Chloe worked on navigating through slippery leaves, tackling hill climbs and going down hills.
There was only one moment that made her stop and say, “Mom! I don’t wanna go down that hill!”
I knew it would be coming so as we approached it I stopped at the top. I told her to shut her bike off and that I would go down and walk back up to her.
When I got back up to the top, I stood in front of her bike with my hands on the the handlebars. I told her to put the bike in neutral and put her foot on the rear brake. We were just going to roll forward a little bit and move over the crest of the hill together. I have no idea what the right way to teach someone to go down a hill is but my thought was – like a roller coaster, getting over the crest of that first drop takes the fear of the unknown away and then the fun comes.
With her foot still on the brake I stepped aside and stood next to her. She then started to roll forward, pumping the brake a couple times and then… letting go. I watched her roll to a stop at the bottom of the hill and look back at me. That was the first and last time she wavered going down a hill for the day.
I was really proud of her.
There is a grace that a child seems to have that as an adult I wish I could master. I was saying to Kenny later on in the evening that Chloe will be a far better rider than I could ever hope to be. She will have the mechanics weaved into the fiber of her being. I think it must be different when you learn to do something as a kid compared to picking it up as an adult.
Though we were riding with a bunch of other people, we would split apart and then meet up with the group throughout the day. Chloe seemed to like it best when it was just the two of us, which was fine by me.
This is my favorite photo of the day – Chloe and I riding off in to the sunset…
I watch Chloe ride and I can see that the love is there. Not because I want it but because it already exists in her. That little flame that was passed down to me from my dad is burning in my daughter.
The long Memorial Day weekend gave our little family a lot of time to do the things we love, together. We hung around on the beach, barbequed and thanks to the generosity of friends – there was even some time to do some family trail riding.
Chloe continues to progress in her riding. As a mom, I stand around watching her go – just beaming.
With a child, you carry the hope in your heart that they do things – not to please you – but because whatever it is speaks to them. That was one of the things I wrestled with, when we surprised Chloe with her dirt bike. Never having ridden one before how could we possibly know whether she would like it or not?
I can say with confidence that my monkey loves her dirt bike, not because anyone wants her to. But because it’s fun.
Watching her move through the trail with confidence and grace is inspiring. Seeing her unfazed after wiping out, picking her bike back up and get going again makes me so proud. She has a self-sufficiency and fearlessness that I wish I could master.
Chloe has never asked for a dirt bike of her own so getting one for her birthday was a big surprise.
While at work last week, I got a video clip of Chloe masterfully doing circles and figure 8’s around the backyard. Watching my monkey out there motoring through the yard absolutely lit my heart up.
In no time at all, she went from tentative wobbling to graceful motion.
I can honestly say that I never really knew the limitless depth of happiness until I became a parent. The ability to be truly happy for someone else went to a whole other level. Watching your child triumph is a gift.
She began her day riding around a course that ran through a plowed cornfield. It is designed to let beginners exercise their new skills while parents can clearly see them move through the course. The ground is soft, there isn’t anything hard to run in to. It’s a great low pressure environment to learn in.
Just watching her riding along, it seemed to me that a kid possesses some innate knowledge of how to do things. I guess “life” hasn’t clogged up their thinking with a bunch of what if’s and noise. They just seem to operate on instinct.
Once she got comfortable moving through the course, we took her into the woods. She seemed completely relaxed navigating her way along the trail and snaking through the trees. When I consider this was her first day of riding a motorcycle on something other than the wide open grass of our backyard, I was completely impressed. She did great!
There was no complaining, no I can’t or I don’t know how – Chloe jumped in with both feet and went for it.
Sure, she fell along the way but she became adept at picking herself back up and getting herself back on the trail. I could stand to take a few pointers from her.
When we came home, we sat outside talking about the day. I asked her what her favorite part was. Her answer was, “I didn’t have one.”
I must admit I was a little taken off guard by that until she followed it up with, “I loved all of it. Well,… not so much the falling.”
After being out on the bikes all day, Chloe asked if she could ride some more in the backyard.
I love her spirit, resilience and her ability to accept the idea that anything is possible. That last bit is something so many grown-ups seem to un-learn.