Friday, September 23, 2011

If I Fell

Lennon got a scooter for her 7th birthday. It was a great present from her aunt, because it came totally unexpected, and her cousin/best friend has one exactly like it. Plus, it came in a big box. Shiny, awesome scooter. And it sat in our closet for a good two months.

She didn't really get a chance to ride it over the summer. We live in 115 degree weather, and it's not the smartest thing to go working up a sweat on a metal rod on wheels in that kind of heat. So practice was not in the cards. When the weather dipped below 105, I would let her take it out around the carport, and she'd get a chance to figure out where the feet go, and how to adjust the height.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, she started asking me if she could ride it to school. And I got weird.

Because she can't ride it. She really can't. She's the kid who holds onto the bars, one foot up on the board, and with the other foot, abruptly stops and steadies herself every half-second. Push. Stomp. It looks incredibly tiring, but even more importantly, it looks like the kind of thing she could get made fun of for. Stomp, Push, Stomp, Push, Stomp, Push, Stomp.

But I let her do it, because I'm trying to be the kind of mom who says, "Who cares what people say? You have to practice and be bad at something before you can be good at something." Push, Stomp, Push. Yeah, I stutter on those words. Because I'm a perfectionist (something I only recently have been willing to admit, thanks, Sarah.) I never thought I was good enough at anything to call myself a perfectionist, and then I was told, "Duh, that very observation, makes you like, Queen of the Perfectionists." Freakin' psychology....

So anyway, there I was, completely snail-pacing my willingness to let my kid make mistakes. Stomp. Push. Stomp. "You just have to keep yourself balanced. Center your body. Ignore the kids behind us. Just keep looking up. Look up, Lennon. Okay, try letting your other leg go up. Give it more of a push. That's it. No, stop, and wait for the other kids to pass. There you go. Okay... try again. Just keep looking forward. Look up!" Stomp.

We stomp-pushed the rest of the way to school that first time. The second time, she got off the scooter and just carried it to the bike rack about halfway to school. She didn't care about riding, so much as she wanted to have something to park.

So yesterday, I announced that I was going to let her take her scooter, but I wasn't going to walk with her. I was just going to watch, and make sure she got there okay. I was going to have to be the first one to stop stomping. I gave her a hug, handed off her backpack, and said, "Just try to keep your body straight up and down, and let your other leg lift up every so often. If you get scared of how fast you're going, you can always stop it with your foot. And if you feel like you want to go faster, you can use that foot to help you push off. It's up to you. Just look up, and know where you're going. And lift up your leg more."

And so she was on her way. Stomping and pushing as usual. Until I saw her body correct itself... She wasn't looking down anymore, and her back was straight... and then she was kind of, well, scooting. And her body got tinier and tinier as she moved further away. Push. Scoot. Push. Scoot.

And then I saw her lift her leg off the ground, knee bent at an awkward peeing-dog angle, and she was balancing on one foot. For just a second. And she stopped, turned around, and I heard yell out, "MOM! Did you see what I just DID?!"

I did see. And I saw her do the weird peeing-dog leg the whole rest of the way to school. Scoot. LIFT. Scoot. LIFT. Scoot. LIFT.

"Have a good day," I called as she approached the gate.

"I'll have a GREAT day!!" she called back, leg high in the air.

And I walked home, thinking about how good it felt to give her a leg up, without any pushing or stomping.


brett and carly said...

Dang it, why aren't you posting links to this on FB so I don't forget about it?? This made me cry. Crazy beautiful. Thank you :)

Monika said...

yay Lennon!

Becky said...

Yay to both of you. What a sweet dialogue, too. You are such a great writer. I've missed you!

Kristin said...

This needs to be entered into some kind of writing competition or a family magazine so it can be published, it is seriously so well written and emotional! I'm glad she's loving her scooter and learning to ride it with her own flair.

Sarah Beau Bera said...

Oh my gosh this one made me laugh. Len-uuuuuuun is funny.