Asked what she would do if her famous head-coach sons were to face off on Super Bowl Sunday, Jackie Harbaugh said, “I know one is going to win and one is going to lose, but I would really like to end in a tie. Can the NFL do that?”
In honor of the Super Bowl and the Harbaugh parents, I’m reposting “Balancing Act.” I can’t imagine how excitedly-depressed they’ll be on Sunday night.
Over the summer, the boys outgrew their Strider bikes, but they were still too short for the 12” inch bikes we bought them for their birthdays. We kept the training wheels on to keep them from tipping over. The past few weeks, the boys hadn’t realized they’d worn down the plastic training wheels so much that the wheels wobbled, providing little support.
Last night, Miguel took off the training wheels, and Javi took off down the driveway. He maneuvered himself around the car and had no trouble keeping his balance. He zigged and zagged; he turned in a big loop and screeched on his brakes. Then he took off like a sixth-grader late for lunch. Miguel and I were so proud of him pedaling away. He smiled and yelled while riding by us, “Mom look! I’m riding without my training wheels!”
Joaquín, though, couldn’t quite get the hang of it. He’d pedal a couple times and then fall over. We’d follow behind him, balancing the seat for him. He’d steer right off the sidewalk and into a shrub. He got on the bike again, checking to make sure we wouldn’t let go before he’d attempt again. We hunched over trying to keep up with him as he raced away. Then, when we couldn’t keep up and let go, he’d wobble and tip over. At least once, he yelled and threw down his bike, saying, “I’ll never be able to ride like Javi.”
Balancing their egos never occurred to me when I found out I’d have twins. Back then, I only thought of all the obvious difficulties—the double breast-feeding nightmare, the double diapers necessary, the expense of two kids at the same time. I never imagined how some simple things become complex with twins. There are certain moments that singleton parents can simply enjoy. One of those moments happens to be when a child learns to ride his/her bike. They don’t have to worry about another child doing the exact same activity at the exact same time. They don’t have to congratulate one child and be supportive of the other over the same event. It never occurred to me until now all the other experiences they’ll slowly have together in the coming years where we’ll be balancing to give each of them what they need, at the exact same time about the exact same event. But for now, I’m content to worry only about bike riding.
After a lot of practice and fading sunlight, we had to put an end to the bicycling for the night. Javi was spinning around the neighborhood, up and down driveways, making short turns. Joaquín was still begging us not to let go and whining that he couldn’t do it—though to his credit, he didn’t give up.
In the morning, the first thing the boys wanted to do was go outside to ride bikes. After a couple of trial runs and steadying the seat, Joaquín did it; he balanced himself on the bike and made it down the block. He stopped and yelled, “I did it.” Javi jumped up and down beside me and said, “Momma, did you see him? Did you see him?”
I nodded. And enjoyed the moment completely.
What moment have you enjoyed lately?