Two days. That’s all that remains of this school year. It seems like the school year just started. It’s not all been smooth sailing, but we made it out alive. Better than alive. There were struggles along the way. Academic struggles. Relationship struggles. In the life of a second grader, that’s close to all there is when it comes to school. That’s the world at large. But, J-man has persevered. He is victorious.
I always miss these twice daily bike rides when summer break arrives. These morning and afternoon rides serve a far more meaningful function than navigating roots and sandpits on the trails. J-man and I have an ease when we commute by bike. We talk about everything and nothing. If I have something important to broach with him, I do it in the morning when we’re riding. That’s when he’s most receptive to what I need to say to him. On the way home, we have a chance to talk about the day’s victories or setbacks. It’s a time of decompression and talk of life’s lessons.
Over the years, I’ve penned more than a couple of posts on my family blog, Sing Dream Hope Pray, about the importance of riding for J-man. I’ve written of how it affords him time and space to compartmentalize his thoughts in the morning before starting the school day. None of that has changed. This physical activity is invaluable therapy for J-man. And, it’s perhaps even more invaluable to me, as it’s precious—a time I hold sacred. This boy has been in one type of therapy or another since eighteen months of age. He’s participated in speech therapy, occupational therapy, feeding therapy, sensory integration therapy and equine assisted therapy. Nothing has benefitted him the way riding a bike has. Having grown up on a farm and around horses, I loved equine therapy for J-man and I truly wanted him to succeed at it. However, his fears prohibited him from letting go completely when he was astride a horse. This doesn’t happen when he’s riding a bike. Yes, there are certain trail features that frighten him, but not enough to keep him from riding. That’s the beauty of mountain biking—there’s almost always a bypass—a safety feature. For the most part biking, in all its forms, is a quantitative character.
So, as we look ahead to third grade, I’m already looking forward to morning rides and conversation—about everything and nothing at all. I’m looking ahead to talks about math and (dreaded) reading, friends and frenemies, Simba and Haile, God brothers, Xbox, and Lamborghinis and Koenigseggs. In the meantime, however, let summer begin!