Jennifer Funk Fine Art

Bikes & Milestones

I remember a few years ago Brad’s brothers family was in town and I walked outside to Uncle Lance teaching Sophie how to ride her bike… running up and down the sidewalk with her and she was having a blast. It kindof took my breath away to see it because it was like seeing the picture I had in my head of what Brad would look like teaching her acted out in front of me. I was overcome with all these emotions simultaneously: happy and grateful that they have amazing uncles who step in and do dad things, heartbroken and a little pissed that she doesn’t get to learn this from her dad, combined with the unmistakable feeling that Brad brings when he is present. I’m not sure how to describe that – but the word miraculous combined with overwhelming love come to mind.  He showed me without a doubt that he was there. All these feelings all at once were a little overwhelming and I was starting to lose it. I ran in to get my camera and was happy for the chance to try to compose myself. I didn’t want them to think I was upset and I figured my tears would be misunderstood.    I got it together and came back and took photos.  It is now a sweet memory.
That was probably 2 and a half years ago.

Since then I have struggled with teaching them to ride. Sophie is 6 1/2 and Addie is almost 5. They should be zooming around on their bikes like other kids their age – but I have some sort of mental block when I think about teaching them. I have used the excuse that we live on a busy road to distract them when they want to go practice. I’m not sure why, but it just makes me so sad that Brad isn’t here to teach them. I have to gear up for it emotionally each time and usually I just try to avoid it. It’s also just another one of those milestones – doing something for the first time. I am getting a little better about dealing when we have a milestone, but there is always a bittersweet undertone because I am celebrating it without Brad.

Last spring I decided that I would make myself help them learn by summer’s end.  I got them balance bikes and we started going on walks so they could pratice. We have had a very busy (and Fun!) summer so we really have only practiced a few times.

Last week Sophie picked up her cousins bike and just started riding.
It was so great!
(and there were a bunch a people around, so that helped me keep it together.)
She was SO excited and proud of herself.
She just kept riding and riding and it dawned on me that Brad was probably running around that tennis court with her just like he would have been if he were physically here.

Today I took the training wheels off Addie’s little bike and she was riding alone after 30 seconds. (but probably not really alone)

We went for our first Funk family bike ride and I got to feel that beautiful feeling that Brad brings when  he comes. And for the first time I didn’t feel sad about a milestone. I snapped pictures and didn’t even think about crying. He was so obviously, tangibly “here” with us.

It really was a Funk FAMILY bike ride.
I will remember that feeling the next time
I am sad because he is “missing” something.
Because it is a miracle.