When I was about The Boy's age, the only bike I had access to was my dad's rusty old bike from when he was a kid. It was a sturdy pink girl's beach cruiser and Dad had used it to deliver newspapers. As the oldest of 8 kids, I'm sure he didn't even care that it was pink, he had a bike!
And I didn't care that it was rusty, had flat tires and weighed about 50 lbs. I had a bike!
I taught myself how to ride it in the backyard. I would lean the bike against the fence, climb up and perhaps get one or two pedals before I'd fall off. The bike was so large that I couldn't actually sit on the cushion and reach the pedals at the same time, so I had to pedal standing up (I'm sure I had thighs like steel back then!).
But I spent a full summer in the backyard, practicing on that old bike with the flat tires on the grass. Occasionally I'd call my mom outside to watch me.
For Christmas that year, I got my first new bike! It was beautiful. I remember that it was blue and had streamers from the handles. And a banana-seat! That morning my Dad was going to put the bikes in the trunk of the car and he said he would teach us how to ride them that afternoon at my aunt's house.
"Dad, let me try and ride! I just know I can do it."
He was hesitant. I remember my mom chimed in and said that I'd been practicing on his old bike in the backyard for months.
I swung my leg over the bike and took off pedaling. I remember how fast the bike was and how easy it was to pedal. After months of being on flat tires, this was it!
As I rode back towards my Dad, I remember his smile and how proud he looked. I'd done it. I'd put my mind to it and I'd taught myself, without anyone's help.
And that thought has carried with me my whole life.
When I wanted to learn how to knit, I got a pair of needles, some yarn and a book from the library and I taught myself. It was hard, especially because I'm a lefty and the book showed it from the right side. I had to reverse the directions in my head (would have been easier to learn from my left-handed-knitting-wiz Grandma when she was alive) but I know how to knit a scarf!
When I want to try a new recipe, I buy the ingredients and I make it!
When I want to make an outfit, I tweak a little here and there on the pattern and I make it my own!
When I wanted to learn how to take my camera off manual, I bought one of the "For Dummies" books and figured out the settings and started snapping away. I'm still learning, yes. And I hope that I'll forever be learning the rest of my life. I know that there are tons of other things that I'd love to know how to do (play piano, bake bread from scratch, plant a garden) and I have many years ahead to learn them.
It's just the start for this little guy. I'm hoping that this moment is the turning point in his life that it was in mine.