Day 3: The Great Bike Ride
This finally happened.
Edem received a bike with training wheels when we first arrived in the states. It was a gift from my parents. We couldn't get him off the bike at first, and then one of the training wheels broke off. I thought that it was time for him to learn how to go on a two wheeler without support. He thought it was time to avoid the bike altogether and move on to the scooter. I cajoled in every way possible to get him up on that bike, even bribed him with ice cream over the summer, but that child can seriously dig in his heels when he doesn't want to do something.
I recently suggested that we sell the bike if he wasn't interested in riding it. He shrugged in a way that let me know that his heart wasn't in alignment with his physical action, so I held off. I pretty much just let the whole bike thing go. I didn't hear a word about it for months, and then, suddenly, as we were heading out to walk over the Brooklyn bridge, I told him to grab the scooter and these words actually came out of his mouth: I want to ride the bike.
The bike? The one without training wheels? The one that has been in the basement, collecting dust, for two years????? OH HALLELUJAH ! 2016 really was off to a great start!!!
I had to act all nonchalant- if this child knew how excited I was, he might back down. Inside I was dancing a victory dance: I CAN FINALLY RIDE BIKES WITH MY CHILD!!!!!!!!
Unfortunately, the abandoned cycle had two. very. flat. tires. The look of disappointment was intense, so we threw the bike in the trunk of the car to take it to a gas station the next day, and then off we went to the bridge- him talking about the bike the whole way there.
That brings us to today. THE DAY that will forever go down in history as "The very best day of my entire whole life," as said by Edem James Threlfall Kwashie.
My child, the great bike resister, woke up and the first words I heard as he pried my eyes open were: "Today I ride the bike. Let's go!"
We borrowed a bike pump from the folks down stairs so we could fix those deflated tires. After a few goes, little man was laughing, exclaiming: "It sounds like FARTS!! THIS IS AWESOME!" ( I really truly don't know where my child disappeared to!)
Tires full, I turned to return the pump, when I heard: "I GOT IT! I GOT IT! I CAN DO IT!!"
I turned around and there he was, just riding away on that bike like it was no big thing at all. The next two hours were filled with pleas for me to take his picture, and him asking: "Are you proud of me mom? Can you believe it? "
As we pedalled home, Edem beamed. "Mom, This is the very best day of my entire whole life. I bet I am good at other things, too!."
Little man grew big today, full of pride and accomplishment, It's been a while since I saw him smile that big- the last time may have been when he learned to ride his first bike with training wheels. It feels incredible as a parent to see your child finally overcome a fear and experience success. I feel as if I just saw a little light of confidence kick on in my child's head, and for that, I am incredibly grateful.
And so that concludes Day 3 in this diary of little joys, only this one feels pretty big. I hope you also had something to make you smile today!
Day 2, Back on the Mat
I got back on my mat today.
It's been a minute (okay, months) since I heard that flicker and assumed the stance for my yoga practice. As may have been evident by the two abysmal posts from 2015, that was a year that saw me on the whelmed side of things. Though 2015 had some great highlights-Brussels, Amsterdam, Paris, Mexico come to mind, over-all, I was incredibly happy to kiss 2015 good-bye. It was just a year filled with strife and grief in the world, and one where I struggled to maintain balance. So it is not without surprise that I am kickstarting 2016 off with a heavy dose of the practices which help to stay centred, open-hearted, and capable of dealing with stress. Namely: meditation and yoga.
Today's yoga session was, not surprisingly, exactly what I needed. A therapeutic class intended to open up tired muscles and detox the organs, our teacher also dropped in words that I needed to hear. She spoke about surrendering; breathing; releasing tension; bowing to ourselves; listening to our needs; opening our hearts. Again and again, as she spoke of our bodies, I heard only: let go; stretch; release. SURRENDER. I could feel myself relaxing, my edges getting a bit softer. In a way that has become almost foreign to me in the last few months, by the end of the session, I felt grounded. Aware. Full of vitality. I felt... alive again.
My word for 2016 is PRESENCE. By this, I mean that I want to be tuned into those around me, able to enjoy the moment, free from past stories that might colour an experience. Free of distractions Ultimately, it is a call to be mindfully aware. As I have given it some thought, it also comes with a mandate to SURRENDER to the now. This historically has been a challenge for me, as my nature is to ideate and problem solve, always thinking 10 steps ahead. When I am on the mat, I am able to let all of that go, and just tune into the practice. Similarly to what happens when I meditate, I usually walk away with answers to questions that had been plaguing me. As simple as that, put the problem aside and answers will arise!
So here we go. Day two into this new year and I'm feeling great about what lies ahead: 363 more days of deep breathing, surrendering, and embracing the moment that is before me.
May 2016 be a year that we all look back on and remember fondly. Whatever comes your way, know that I am here to be with you, present, aware, and ready to breathe beside you.
What's your word for 2016?
I wanted to walk across the Brooklyn bridge today. Not sure why, exactly, it's just what came to me the moment I opened my eyes. But damn if it wasn't cold today...
"Just say yes.... " my spirit whispered. "Everything that's ever been good in your life started with yes..."
There are always many (seemingly reasonable) reasons not to do something the moment the inspiration strikes. You're not prepared, it's not the right time, it would be better when planned out... Or like today, it's damn cold out there! "Perhaps tomorrow..." becomes an easy refrain. The problem with the stall is it can keep you from experiencing something you actually were fully prepared to experience- maybe something you NEEDED to experience.
So the next time inspiration strikes, maybe try saying this: "YES." That's it, nothing more, and then just get up and do it. I'm always grateful when I do. #yes#nofilter #Brooklynbridge
Erin Michelle Threlfall
Artist, Activist, and Educator, Erin is the mother of a budding genius in his 13th year of study. Erin and her little man, Edem, have a plan to investigate world Theater and influence education one continent at a time. Ghana, South Korea, Togo, Bali, and US have been checked off the list of places to live; these days they call Switzerland home.