Sunday, October 12, 2008

Bike Ride

My cute daughter Phoebe (second from left, last row) when she was eight years old

I wrote the following when my daughter was around eight or nine years old trying to learn how to ride a bike.

The street was a sea of people that shady afternoon. Boys were scrambling to possess the orange rubber ball and shoot it in the ring that was hoisted on one side of the road. Mothers were strolling the wide street with their kids. A man, his shirt rolled up to his stomach, was fanning a barbecue pit in front of his house, obviously getting ready to grill some barbecue. In a few minutes, people would start milling around his improvised stall and buy his barbecue. This is a common sight in our neighborhood especially every summer when children are out of school and adults have enough spare time on a Saturday afternoon.

That afternoon, I was on my way home from the grocery when I spotted from afar a thin girl in a familiar shirt and pair of shorts. She was pedaling a bicycle, slowly at first, then breezily. When the girl saw me, her face brightened up. She smiled and shouted, “Mom!”

Hey, that’s my daughter! Pride flooded my heart as I saw my eight year-old daughter, Phoebe, navigate our busy street. Her Tita Rothy gave her that bicycle. Even before she had her own, she had been practicing already on a borrowed bicycle. And when she finally got one, she spent almost every afternoon learning how to balance herself on the two wheels.

I did not watch her every time she practiced, but I would ask her from time to time how she’s doing. During her first few attempts, she would say, “It’s hard,” or “I can’t balance myself”. The succeeding trials were rough. Sometimes, she would come home with scratches on her leg or knee. I would kid her, “You’ve ruined your legs. You can’t be Miss Universe anymore.” She would pout then ask me for a remedy. I bought her cebo de macho and cautioned her to be careful.

In spite of the wounds she suffered, Phoebe would still practice riding on her bike until her efforts paid off. Later on, I asked her, “How did you feel while you were still learning how to balance and control your bike?”

She replied, “It feels good. I get excited but I get nervous too.”

“Didn’t you feel embarrassed with the people on the street looking at you…you know, whenever you fall down, or when you can’t park sooner to give way to a coming vehicle?” I was imagining how I would feel if I was in that situation. I don’t like people staring at me, so for sure, I would feel uncomfortable.

“Oh yes,” she said. “But now I can balance myself, and I can go wherever I want.”
At the age of eight, my daughter has learned how to ride a bicycle, and up to now she still rides in the afternoon around our neighborhood. I admire her for that. I admire her for her courage and persistence in facing the challenge of riding a bicycle, in stretching her abilities, in getting up after a fall, in taking a risk.

Like my daughter, I think I should also take more risks. Not only in trying a new hairstyle, but also in trying out something new that would help me grow as a person. I should also muster the courage to let others see not only my strengths but also my weaknesses so people can see the real me. I will keep on putting my persistence to the test by writing (even at two in the morning) and sending queries to editors until my works get published. And even if I get rejection letters one after the other, I’ll keep trying. It’s all part of the risk. Hopefully, afterwards, it will be a breeze, just like riding bike.

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. The Bible, from the Book of Romans 5:3


marj said...

Hi Ate Yah! Syempre pa updated ako sa pagcheck ng perspectives mo. Aside from the fact that I love to read, I also delight in learning from other people's experiences & wisdom. You're one of them now. =)

The "bike ride" gives me a feeling of excitement & joy of being a mommy also someday. Like you, I also desire to be a wonderful & loving mom. By God's grace, I will be.

kutz said...

Ate Yahyah, it's good to hear from you after so many years! You've inspired my to update my blog again. Keep in touch! (tintin)