Some of the other kids on the block can ride their bikes without training wheels.
Oh, the things I will do when I can ride like the big boys! I’ll zoom down the street a hundred miles an hour!!
I’ll ride with no hands!
I’ll make this little bike fly!
And I’ll go all by myself to the Little Store, which has every soft drink in the world, every kind of candy you can imagine, and all the comic books I love. And it’s four whole blocks away!
“How about today?” Dad asks.
“Are you sure?”
“It’s what you want, right? What are you afraid of?”
Me, afraid? No way. But…”Does it have to be today?”
“Don’t worry, you can do it,” Dad says.
“How about tomorrow?”
But Dad has already taken the training wheels off.
Mom is holding on to the back fender.
“I’m right here. I won’t let you fall. Now pedal.”
I start pedaling.
“Hold on. Hold on. Don’t let go!” I shout.
“You’re doing fine,” Mom says. “Keep pedaling. Feel the balance.”
Without the training wheels it feels like I’m going to tip over.
When we get to the end of the block, Mom says, “That was good. Let’s do it again.”
“Okay, but hold on, okay?”
“I will. Don’t worry. Now pedal. I’m right behind you.”
“Hold on! Hold on! Don’t let go! Don’t let go! Don’t let go! DON’T LET GO!
Then I hear her laughing.
I look around. She’s half a block away.
“Now get up and do it by yourself.”
And I do. The hardest is to turn around without falling. But I do it better and better. By the end of the day I am riding all by myself without training wheels.
“Can I ride to the Little Store?”
Mom and Dad look at each other. “We’ll walk with you.”
When we get there they buy me a grape Nehi to celebrate. AND a comic book!
And they let me ride home all by myself.
And this is the strange thing. Just this morning I was a little boy.
Tonight I ‘m a big kid.