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There is only one success--to be able to spend your life in your own way.-Christopher Morley
Ride Like the Wind
By David
Posted February 24, 2010

Itís another sunny Sunday afternoon in the San Fernando Valley and weíre home from lunch. Beautiful Eema is napping, Iím watching a vampire movie, Twilight, in the guest room, and The Good Boy and the Sweet Sweetheart are each in their rooms for a rare hour or so. By rare, I mean hardly ever, as our children love nothing more than carrying on a 15-hour conversation with us, usually beginning at 6am and seldom interrupted. We do love spending time with our kids, discussing their toys in great detail, their plans for future stardom, and the inequality between what one got and the other seemingly didnít, but sometimes we just need some downtime at some point over the weekend. This is one of those times.

It doesnít take long until the children are at Beautiful Eemaís side tugging at her, asking her to go outside with them so they can ride their bikes and scooters. Itís a reasonable request, and she tells them that she will do so in an hour. They then turn and make a bee-line to the guest room where Iím located and make the same request of me, as they donít really want to wait an hour. I quickly pause the movie, to prevent any bloody vampire mutilation action from being witnessed by the kiddies.

These days, itís not all that common for children not to have friends living on the same block, and even if they did, they could not just go out to play alone. A parent would be needed to supervise them out of concern for their safety. This fact is at the heart of the lack of downtime that parents get and, to a great extent, parents are often the sole source of entertainment for their children.

So, I head out with the children to the cul-de-sac. I roll up the garage door, set up a chair, and open my laptop. The Good Boy pulls out his bike, and the Sweet Sweetheart rides her scooter. But after falling twice, I decide that maybe sheíd better switch to some other activity while she and her clothing are still in one piece. She takes out a soccer ball and begins to bounce it. It rolls into the street, and she follows, as a car begins to turn onto our block. I yell to her that thereís a car, and she barely responds. The car slows and comes to a stop, parking.

The Sweet Sweetheart continues pursuing the ball, and I make the point to her that we always stop and go onto the sidewalk when a car approaches, as weíve done for the past 7.5 years of her life. She agrees, and continues to bounce the ball.

Free Wheelin
Free Wheelin'

I should explain that although we live on a double cul-de-sac and there are relatively few houses on our block, itís truly amazing how much traffic there is going in and out whenever our children play outside. It seems that absolutely every single car on the block (two or three per family), is in a state of constant traveling at all times. Every parked car will pull out, and every missing car will return within any given half-hour.

Sure enough, a few minutes pass and another car turns into the block. The Sweet Sweetheart drops the ball and pursues it into the street as the car approaches. She is oblivious to the car, and I yell again for her to come out of the street while the car nears. She reluctantly (and slowly) does so, and I decide I donít want to keep on yelling in the street, so I take the children back inside. I look forward to getting back to my movie.

At that point, Beautiful Eema comes down the stairs and is instantly flanked by the children who besiege her to go outside with them. I explain why we came back in so soon, and I happen to notice a cup sitting on the kitchen counter, filled with half-frozen blue Lysol. While I was watching the movie, thinking that the children were in their rooms, they were actually making ďperfumeĒ out of the fragrant Lysol, and actually had placed their chemistry experiment into the freezer for a while. I groan and air out the freezer, hoping that our frozen food hasnít been affected by the fumes. Iím glad that things seem normal inside the freezer, but Iím less than thrilled at the prospect of a serious mishap at any time.

Beautiful Eema agrees to go out with the kids, and asks me to remove the training wheels from the Sweet Sweetheartís bike. The bike is a small, pink, girly one, and used to have a small plate on it saying ďCutie.Ē I highly doubt that the Sweet Sweetheart is ready to ride the bike without training wheels, and my skepticism and lack of enthusiasm for the project is multiplied by the half-frozen, poisonous cup-o-Lysol I encountered in the kitchen just a few minutes ago.

Nonetheless, I rummage through my toolbox and find a wrench for this project. I first pump up the pink and white tires, then proceed to unbolt the training wheels. I hand off the bike to the Sweet Sweetheart and quickly beat a hasty retreat inside the house, preferring not to witness the likely carnage. Just in case, I take a mental inventory of our supply of bandages.

As I take an incoming phone call from my brother, Beautiful Eema takes over, supporting the bike, and the sweet ladies of our family proceed to spend close to an hour circling the cul-de-sac in that manner. The Good Boy follows them on his big-boy bike. I watch through an upstairs window.

I still recall the time I removed his training wheels. The Good Boy decided one day that heís ready to ride unencumbered, and after experimenting with the bike of a friend, simply got on his bike and rode off into the sunset. There wasnít really any learning curve or falling. He just got on the bike and rode it, pretty much perfectly ever since.

As the hour progresses, I watch in amazement, as The Sweet Sweetheart breaks away from Eemaís support and rides freely, balancing without any problem. She repeats the process, then begins to circle the block like a pro. The Good Boy is dispatched to tell me the good news, and I walk outside to enjoy the sight of the Sweet Sweetheart riding like the wind, and to relish Beautiful Eemaís accomplishment.

I could write a whole separate article about the concept of letting children reach their potential and being allowed to try and fail at various things so that they learn to be self-sufficient adults, as Iíve written in the past.

For now, suffice it to say that I am proud of my sweet beautiful ladies, and Iím enjoying the moment.

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