I never realized how tiring it could be to teach someone to ride a bicycle. Bending over with my hand under the saddle, running alongside, up and down the road - it's harder than I imagined.
But it is totally, completely worth it. To see the glow in that six-year-old's eyes, to see the smile creep across her face when she realizes that I've let go and she's still riding, to watch her take off on her own... it's incredible.
My parents told her about how I learned to ride, up at Indian lake. When she crashed, I told her that she was doing better than I did when I was learning. "Yeah, I bet it was a lot harder for you, since you were only five," she told me. Then she proceeded to tell me about the comic she read that morning, the tears gone and the smile coming. Then her brother rode up: "Did you crash?" And just like that, the tears came back. I kindly told her brother to keep riding, and asked her about the comic. Then she got back on the bike.
"Okay, here's what's gonna happen, mister. You're gonna hold me with both hands this time." She's pretty demanding for a six-year-old.
But I learned a lot: kids have to know you're there, that you're ready to catch them if they fall. Make them laugh, and their troubles pass. Give them compliments - honest compliments - and their confidence grows. Look them in the eye to make sure they understand. Get at their level to talk to them - either squat down or pick them up.
Later, when her mom sent her and her sister to get ready for bed, she saw a moth at the top of the stairs, and she's terrified of moths. Her parents told her she'd have to get over it, but she was paralyzed with fear. 15 minutes later, she was still standing at the bottom of the stairs, crying. I picked her up and carried her up, approaching the moth slowly. I squished it with a finger, and it flew away. I told her the moth was harmless, that it was like a butterfly, that it couldn't do anything to her - it was so scared it flew away. Her tears began to stop.
But her sister noticed the moth was trapped in a light. "Is it gonna die?" she asked as her eyes got wattery.
Now I didn't know what to do. If I said it wouldn't die, the one would still be afraid of it, and probably start crying again. If I said it would die - which was true - the other would start to cry.
So I said that it would probably die. I picked up the other girl, now crying, and told her it was just a moth, just a bug. "But God made it and he wants us to take care of it," she told me.
Now what do I say to that? With a hug and saying "It's ok," she stopped crying. Now both twins were calm and relatively happy, and ready to get ready for bed.
Again, I learned that kids need to know you're there, ready to help them. And that I won't always have all the answers. Hugs will help, but they won't answer the question.
My fiancée - the older sister of both of these girls - and I have been talking about our kids. We both want to adopt as many as we have biologically. She wants 8. I'm thinking 5's the max.
I've always wanted to be a father. I love kids. I love teaching them, playing with them, comforting them. But having my own... it's such a responsibility. And such a privilege.
It makes me nervous - am I ready? No. I don't think anyone is ever "ready" for a child - dealing with two crying twins taught me that. But I know that God has a plan, and He'll give us as many children as we can handle.
Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Psalm 127:3