Saturday afternoon, after our family spent a couple hours preparing and canning salsa, I asked Millie, "What do you want to do?" and her response was quick, "New bike?"
New bike. Her "new" bike with training wheels. The one that she won at an Easter egg hunt about a year and a half ago.
It's not a new bike. It's a shiny new-looking bike. Pristine, barely any dirt on its bright, white tires.
That bike has been a thorn in my side all summer. I've tried so many times to get Millie comfortable on it, to get her to pedal. And then, when that wasn't happening, just to sit, just sit, on the bike.
But she has never liked it. It's too big, too intimidating. Too scary.
And so she meandered throughout the summer on her way-too-small-for-her tricycle.
But then came last Wednesday, when Lola was at school and Millie and I had all day together. It was too nice a day to be indoors and we'd already gone for a walk when I suggested, Hey, maybe, let's just for fun, let's take out that bike again, ok, no, no pressure, just for fun, let's just take it outside and look at it, maybe just sit on it for a few minutes, one minute, ok, just a few seconds. Please?
She wasn't thrilled with the idea. And she got even less thrilled when she realized I still enforced that no-helmet-no-bike rule.
But she obliged -- she tried.
She didn't get it, but she sat there and got her feet on the pedals and she pushed.
It didn't go. But she pushed again.
It still didn't go.
But she pushed again -- and this time it moved forward just a couple of inches.
A few tries and we happily called it a day.
For the first time, a big-girl biking session ended with her not in tears, but in smiles.
And then came Saturday, when, without prompting, without encouraging, she asked on her own, "New bike?"
So we went outdoors, she got her helmet, and I got ready to help guide her along.
"No Mommy help," she said.
She set the bike right inside the garage, right where there is the slightest of downhills to help her get started on her own. She pushed off on the pedals -- and away she went!
Somehow, some way, this little 5-year-old taught herself how to propel herself forward, taught herself how to pedal a bicycle.
Within a single day she went from needing me to push, steer, and control her every movement to flying around in circles around the driveway.
I watched as both girls rode circles around the driveway, thinking, knowing, this would be a life-changing moment for us all.