Brice and the Balance Bike

Brice started kindergarten this fall.

I know, right? I don’t even know how that happened so fast…

So we’ve been taking advantage of the weather and walking to school while Brice rides his balance bike.  He hasn’t quite figured out the pedaling thing, at least not in any way that would enable him to ride a regular bike to school, so we got him a larger balance bike for now. And you know what? That kid can fly!

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He coasts along with his feet out, his bright red Lightning McQueen Crocs splayed out while he intentionally swerves the bike around. His big red helmet on his head. He calls out to people as we walk, thanking cars for stopping at the crosswalk, or yelling good morning to everyone we see, even when it’s afternoon. He makes people smile with his genuine love of life.

It is somewhere around the time that we near school, though, that I start thinking about how Brice isn’t exactly “cool” in the traditional sense. We see a 5th grade boy raising the flag and Brice runs to the kid screaming, “Good morning, Lunch Buddy!”

And the Lunch Buddy smiles and says, “Good morning, Brice.” And every day, Brice gets happy as hell that the Lunch Buddy knows his name.

And every day, I say, “Do you know his name now?”

And Brice says, “His name is Lunch Buddy!”

I worry so much that someone will tell him that he isn’t wonderful the way he is and that he should change so he can be better. Because right now, it hasn’t even occurred to him that he “should” be anyone else. I worry about that seed of doubt being planted in his carefree, loving little heart.

Somewhere along the way, we get shaped and altered and trimmed and changed by our lives. Because of what we want, because of what we don’t. To fit in, to stand out. A tide of people-pleasing that we could coat ourselves in until we don’t know who we are anymore.

He rides his balance bike because he loves it and he doesn’t worry that it isn’t good enough to use. He wears the clothes and shoes he likes and that feels comfortable in. He eats hummus with a spoon for snack because it’s his favorite food. I pray that no one starts telling him those things aren’t right.

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Because those things are him, before anyone told him who to be. And in my mama heart, I pray that if anyone tries to convince him he needs to change, he wouldn’t believe them.

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