On Sunday, we took the boys to the schoolyard nearby to learn how to ride their bikes. I’ve had the bikes in storage for nearly two years now, and finally pulled them out and decided since I have help now, maybe it’s time they learned how to ride their bikes.
So, the boyfriend and I walked all three kids to the schoolyard, I provided verbal guidance as I watched him tail behind the boys teaching them how to ride. It was all I could do since I had to stay with Sophia.
I watched as they put their feet to the pedal, and would immediately plant it back on the ground because they’ve lost balance, but they never gave up. They kept going.
Pedal. Floor. Pedal. Floor. Pedal. Floor. Pedal. Floor.
I watched Donovan try to ride alone as the boyfriend helped Jordan, and so did a little boy. The little boy must have been about 5 years old. He sat on his bike, and followed Donovan around. I noticed the little boy was saying something to Donovan. I didn’t move from where I was standing, but I tried to focus on hearing what the kid was saying. I couldn’t catch it all, but I heard just enough to catch, “… and I’m so much smaller than you. Look how fast I can go.”
And he sped ahead to show off. I saw a look of defeat in Donovan’s eyes. He was disappointed. He was ashamed. He was embarrassed.
And my heart broke.
I couldn’t get mad at the little boy. He was just a little boy. I know he didn’t say it maliciously, but that stung.
He was right. They are just learning how to ride their bikes when kids half their age already know how to ride bikes…
It’s sad because it really brings to light how much of their childhood has already been lost. While 5-year-olds were out learning how to ride their bikes and do fun kid things, they were watching their sister struggle to learn how to do things babies her age did naturally. While 5-year-olds were excited about holidays and birthdays, they spent theirs wondering if Sophia was going to be home or in the hospital. While 5-year-olds were going on family vacations, they accompanied me and Sophia to medical appointments. Vacations were our trips to medical conferences or specialized doctors in different states. While 5-year-olds were wishing for new toys and fun games, they were just wishing for her health to improve.
They missed out on a couple of years of just being kids. It makes me proud to see how much more mature they are than their peers, but it makes me so sad to know it was at the expense of their childhood.