All summer LJ has been cruising around on his bike with one (squeaky) training wheel. Aside from alerting everyone that he is coming, the squeaky wheel has been a convenient way for him to practice not having the wheel touch the ground and balancing with it up off the ground. I was telling him today that I thought he was ready to just take the training wheel off but he was hesitant. Then, while trying to jump over a 4x4 piece of wood, he knocked the training wheel up and didn't notice at first. Again, I asked about taking the wheel off and he said, "Just let me practice a bit more."
I let him practice and then said, "Wouldn't it be a neat surprise for Dad if, when he got home, you were cruising around without your training wheel!?" He agreed. As we were taking the training wheel off, he kept saying, "Dad is going to be so proud of me!"
We removed the wheel and he took off down the street saying, "I've got this!" I ran into the house to grab the camera. By the time I got back out, I couldn't spot him but saw The Lion stopped near the fire hydrant. I took a few more steps and saw him sprawled on the sidewalk with the bike on top of him. He rolled over and looked at me. Then, he smiled, waved and said, "I'm alright. I've got this!" He got up and started racing up and down the street again. Ever since he was a toddler, his resilience has inspired me. He is such a tough kid! There was another fall but he popped right back up, dusted off his pants and started going again. "Mom, I'm doing it! Dad is going to be so surprised! Mom, I can even do sharp turns! Watch!" He mastered it so fast! I was so proud of him.
(For the sake of the grandparents, I feel the need to preface this next paragraph with the statement that nothing bad/permanent happened.)
Remember the aforementioned piece of wood that knocked the training wheel up? It is opposite the mailbox and so, when avoiding the mailbox, it is easy to hit the piece of wood. He did just that and fell hard, smashing his leg and ribs between the wood and his bike. He didn't wave and smile and pop right back up. I walked over and asked if he was ok. He winced and said, "Yea...I got my leg stuck for a minute but I'm alright." He started walking around a bit and you could tell the leg hurt. He explained that he wanted to take a break for a little bit but definitely wanted to show Dad his new skills when Dad got home. Sure enough, Doug hadn't even gotten into the garage and LJ was jumping out the door to strap on his helmet and get going.
We were both so proud of him as he cruised up and down the street. Thinking back on it this evening, I was surprised when I realized that I was most proud of him for getting back up each time he fell down. I can't help but wonder if it is the same with our Heavenly Parents. I know they are happy with us when we are "cruising along" and progressing but is it a stronger happiness when we get back up after getting knocked down? During those times that our spiritual training wheels have been taken away - a new calling, a new job, an unexpected move, a faith-shaking trial - do we get a little "You've got this!" message that helps us to believe "I've got this! I'm doing it!"? Sometimes we do and sometimes I think we don't - we have to forge ahead and find strength on our own. But, I think that is part of the "no training wheels" spiritual learning process.