Making the most of a new life

Cycle of Life


As regular readers will know, there are many things about being a parent that have surprised me. The unexpected has become a part of daily life for me, and I never really know what is coming next. This is both challenging and exciting and can sometimes lead to me having mixed feelings about daily life with our boys.

On the other hand there are some events which I know will happen as the boys get older. These are events that I have pictured in my mind since I first knew Karen was pregnant, and perhaps even earlier. One of these was seeing a child of mine riding a bike unaided on their own. This is partly because I remember so vividly the moment when my Father pushed me off and I felt the rush of absolute freedom of riding along independently under my own power without the aid of stabilisers. It was an amazing moment for me and it opened up all sorts of new horizons of playing with the older children in the street and, in time, exploring the area where I lived and beyond.

Now it was Jake’s turn to try this out. We had been lucky enough to have been given a bike some time ago and Jake had been asking when he could have a try, the only thing holding us back being the fact that it needed a bit of maintenance – including taking off the stabilisers – something we finally got round to doing the other morning. So there were no more excuses, it was a lovely crisp sunny winter’s day, and we went off to a place where there is a flat and wide path.

Jake had been using his balance bike (one of those without pedals) for about two years, and he had grown ever more confident in riding it, so we were hopeful that he might pick bike riding up quickly. We were not really prepared for what came next as Karen gave him a push off and he absolutely flew away. He was a little wobbly at first but very quickly found his balance and it quickly seemed as if he had been cycling for years.

Jake was so happy and so proud of his achievement and I was pleased that I managed to capture that pride with some photos, a moment that I will never forget and I hope Jake remembers it for years to come.

Jake’s achievement, and his pride at doing something so radically new made me think that as we get older there are fewer ‘basic’ (I cannot think of a better word than that at the moment) things that are left to achieve. We learn to walk, read, write, count, and then drive; and while we keep learning all our lives there are fewer single things that give us such a life changing jolt. Having children is one of these moments, it leads to so many changes and new experiences; many are unexpected but some we dream about, hope for and look forward to. Jake riding his bike definitely fell into that latter category, and as the cycle of life continues, I can only wonder what comes next.

7 thoughts on “Cycle of Life

  1. I loved reading this Simon and distinctly remember my own first bike, dad bought it back form Petticoat Lane, it was an old midwife’s bike, probably worth some money if I had kept it. He pushed and i pedalled but alas, as it was 26″ wheels and very high for my little body to balance and i was wearing flip flops, i fell off and scraped off the top of my toe which was bleeding quite profusely. My dad went away disappointed by me and left me to get on with it. I think there is a narrative for our own life patterns just inside this little piece of growing independence.

  2. It’s one of THOSE moments. I remember it well when we went through the same with our oldest son about 6 months ago. Having become similarly confident on his balance bike, it took him a few tries before he finally wobbled off on his own and now it’s like he’s always been able to ride unaided. The thing is that now his younger brother – who’s almost 3 – wants to jump straight on to his bike, never mind the balance bike! It’s a nice problem to have.

    • Thanks Tim. We tried to upgrade our 2.5 year old to the balance bike but despite some initial willingness he couldn’t get the knack of it. From experience we just have to keep plugging away and once both of them are on the go our walks can be a bit more strenuous without having to resort to carrying boys or pushing prams.

  3. Great post Simon. The most vivid memory of Dad as a child of perhaps 7 is going out on my (elder sisters) 2 wheeler without stabilisers with Dad holding the seat of the bike. I didn’t know I was under my own steam until I glanced back to see he was smiling and clapping at my achievement . You have really pinpointed a key childhood transition. An amazing sensation of independence and accomplishment.

    • Thanks Angela. I think it is a rite of passage for many people and it’s great that you have such vivid memories of it like it do. It’s also great that children can still experience it today

  4. Pingback: Fading Memories I | ChangingDad

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