I went outside today, to put something away in my car, when suddenly a memory from childhood came to me. I was brought to the time I learned to ride a bike.
I was about to go into Kindergarten, and it was summertime. Stuck on training-wheels, following my big brother around town was difficult for me. I'd tried to learn to ride a bike before, and it never quite clicked.
First time someone tried to teach me was my uncle. Setting me on a huge bike that fit him, he shoved me off and let me try to pedal. My feet barely touched the pedals, and I peddled frantically. However, I was only going because of the momentum from him pushing the bike. I made it as far as the neighbor's house before the bike started tipping. Turning, trying to regain balance, I started falling over. This was repeated several times before he gave up.
I'm sure other people tried to help me, but the only other memory I have of learning to ride a bike was this:
"Hey, Lisa, come outside," my big brother told me, insistent. "No, I'm playing," was my response. "Do you want to learn to ride a bike?" My big brother asked. "Yes!" My mind was changed very quickly. So I followed him outside. He took one of the bikes with no training wheels, his bike, and told me to get on. He wasn't quite 2 years older than me, so I actually fit. Pushing me lightly, he stood beside me and monitored my riding until I began to fall. Keeping me up, he helped support the bike for a while, letting me "ride". His support became less and less, and soon I was doing it on my own. I fell a lot, wanted to give up a lot, but my big brother taught me how to ride a bike. It was with great pride that I ran inside to tell my mom, "I KNOW HOW TO RIDE A BIKE WITH NO TRAINING WHEELS!!! COME LOOK! COME LOOK!" My parents made a show, clapping for me, and I was proud.
Years later, having taught some of my own siblings to ride bikes, I wonder what pride must've James been feeling at that moment. I can't remember if he got credit, but remembering, it's James taking that time with his bike that I remember most from then.