On most any given Sunday, it’s quite likely you could find our family at a Motocross track. Whether racing competitively, or riding purely for enjoyment, dirt bikes are what you might call a “staple” around here.
My better half, CF, raced competitively since he was 12 years old. I don’t believe there were too many weekends until he turned 22 that he wasn’t racing, or getting the bike ready to compete in the next one. He was amazingly fast, and was some serious competition for anyone in his class. Be that as it may, he decided on his own to hang up the racing gear the year after we married; knowing he had new responsibilities that would be difficult to manage should he become injured. Although I truly did hate to see him give up something he enjoyed so very much, I had to admire his dedication to providing for our future together. He kept his bike, a now (almost) vintage 1995 Honda CR 250, and would take it out of the garage from time to time to give our kids a little ride around the place.
When daughter, Emily, was turning 6 years old, Grandpa F. couldn’t help himself but to buy her a dirt bike. Two weeks before her birthday, he and Gram pulled into our drive with a shiny, slightly used Honda CRF 50. Emily was quite excited, as I’m sure any kid would be (almost as excited as the grandpa who couldn’t wait two more weeks to give it to her for her birthday), and she wanted nothing more than to hop on and take it for a ride. Call me a “mother”, but my first thought was, “Did anyone think to buy her a helmet? Goggles? No…nothing??? I see… and yes, I know we couldn’t possibly disappoint her (or grandpa) since she’s already sitting on it and looking so adorable in her ruffly denim dress and braids.”
So my darling husband went about giving her the low down on the throttle, the brakes, turning corners, where she could ride, etc. Never once did it cross his mind, I’m sure, that she may not be capable of comprehending all of that in one 5 minute lesson, much less do all of it; multitasking isn’t exactly a skill most 6 years olds are proficient in.
I’ve always believed that boys are born with that innate ability to “drive” things. Whether it be a lawnmower, a car, a tractor… they seem to pick it up very quickly, like the steering wheel or shifter is merely another appendage. It is my experience, however, that girls are not born with that same skill, especially not in my family. If you can pardon my French, and the amateur homemade video, you’ll see my motherly intuition was unfortunately spot on.
Calling Emily’s kindergarten teacher, to forewarn her of the scratches on her face (and that we didn’t “purposefully” harm our little girl) was difficult. But even worse was knowing that we’d have to get her right back on that horse (with a helmet, of course), or succumb to the idea she would never want anything to do with it again. One shiny silver helmet later, and her dad by her side EVERY step of the way, she had it conquered. Little brother, Sidney, watched his sister ride her dirt bike around the yard with big eyes. I knew right away that it wouldn’t be long before there would be a matching CRF 50 riding side by side with hers. I did think I’d have a year, however. We told Sid that in order to have his own dirt bike, he’d first have to master riding a bicycle, and without training wheels. This brought on a whole new “drive” in him to set forth & conquer, and that is just what he did that very same day! He & Mom practiced with Emily’s bike while she was in school, and like boys do, he picked it up instantly. So when he turned 5 years old only 2 months later, there was a bike from Gram & Grandpa waiting for him too, and a helmet from Mom & Dad!