Notching the Milestone Belt

She started asking me last year.  Not persistently, but often.  Never demanding.  It was actually more a feeble plead, a half-hearted request completely lacking in confidence.

“You’re not ready” was typically all it took to quell her desires.  I wasn’t about to tell her that it was me who was not ready.  These things, simple as they may appear on the surface, cut deep as they loose whatever fibers of relevance I imagine binding us together.  “Maybe next summer.”

It is not yet summer — hell, spring has been barely discernible through all of the lingering cold and threatening snow.  I’m still running the freaking heater!!  Yet it only took one warm day, one afternoon of sunshine and temperatures mild enough to force us out of doors to rekindle the pleas.  And it would appear the long winter’s nap had given them bite.  Half-hearted and lacking confidence were nowhere to be found.  These were no longer meek requests but bold demands, asked in a tone that simply said, “I will not be denied.”

“I want my training wheels off!”

“Zella, are you sure?  Are you sure you’re ready?”


I stared at her 30 pounds of staid determination looking for weakness.

She never blinked.  (Not surprising, for I must admit that she is the family champion at staring contests.)

After what seemed an eternity she finally spoke.  “And Zander, too.”

The kid’s got moxie.

“Alright.  Let’s do it.”

A few simple twists with a half inch gear wrench and ten minutes later we put another notch in the milestone belt.

Zander was a natural.  Just as he does everyday when I drop him off at school, he took off without even considering a look back.  Zella, a bit more tentative, took a few minutes to adjust to the new sensation of balancing herself but like her brother was off and running in no time.  They were as excited as I’ve seen them, overflowing with pride and a newfound confidence at having accomplished such a great feat.

Never Look Back
Never Looked Back


Not to be Denied
Not to be Denied


The Dynamic Duo
The Dynamic Duo


And me?  Well, as proud as I may be of my two little raccoons it still hurts a little to realize that they are growing up in spite of my desires to the contrary.  I’m feeling a bit more like the trainers that have been removed……


  14 comments for “Notching the Milestone Belt

  1. Jeff Jones
    Apr 20, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Nicely done! And no, I haven’t got a little tear possibly forming in the corner of my eye. It’s allergy season. Right? Love that last pic. Great post!

    • Ed
      Apr 20, 2011 at 10:15 am

      Thanks, man. A little Claritin will help clear those sinuses right up.

  2. jjdaddyo
    Apr 20, 2011 at 9:45 am

    So what you’re saying is: they’re ready for their first “Born To Be Wild” tattoos….

    • Ed
      Apr 20, 2011 at 10:16 am

      Maybe just “Born Wild”.

  3. Apr 20, 2011 at 10:04 am

    They are growing up too fast! But way to go twinks!

    • Ed
      Apr 20, 2011 at 10:17 am

      Way too fast!

  4. Apr 20, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Love the pics.

    • Ed
      Apr 20, 2011 at 6:46 pm

      Thanks. It’s one of those events you hate not to capture.

  5. MGM
    Apr 22, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    I’m impressed. My boy-child decided he wanted his training wheels off last fall and he is still not riding that bike without me holding him up and getting a backache up and down the 750 foot driveway.

    • Ed
      Apr 23, 2011 at 7:44 am

      That is just not right. I think I’d be giving lessons on how to crash!

  6. Apr 26, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Awesome. I know the feeling. Lukas recently started to ride without training wheels too. It’s an amazing thing to see, but also a bit sad.

    • Ed
      Apr 29, 2011 at 5:45 am

      So now we move into the next phase — crash training!

  7. Apr 28, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Well done. We have gone through the same thing here and it is great to see the kids so proud of themselves

    • Ed
      Apr 29, 2011 at 5:47 am

      The problem now is that they do not mistake that pride with overconfidence and remember to be safe.

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