Aleeyah has been riding her bike to school since the last week of August. She enjoyed doing so but to get to this point was quite a journey for her.
Our landlady own an adult bike that looks like this photo below. We occasionally see it parked in front of our house. One week before she goes back to school, I (mom) purposely took a 1 week leave to specifically spend time with her. We were then planning for a 3-day family get away. One morning, I saw her trying to ride this adult bike. It is obviously big for her. Every time she gets on it, she tips over, then she gets on it again and tips over. As I watch her do this, i could see how she felt crying but she remained quiet and would try over and over again. Then she sighed and sat down just looking at the bike.
I was so moved. Then I said, "Aleeyah, do you really want to ride a bike?" "Yes", she softly answered. "You know, we could buy you your own bike if you agree to have our family get away for one day only," I suggested. With excitement, she jumped and screamed, "Yes, God answered my prayer!" "Huh, you were praying for it?" I asked. "Yes, dad and I were praying for it."
So we went to a resort outskirts of Phnom Penh for one day one night only. Though I wished it could have been longer since I myself was really needing a rest :)
On our way back to Phnom Penh the next day, we picked up her own bike, then the training began.
First week of training was very tough. Mom and Dad would alternately wake up 5am to train her. This way, the street is still empty. Take note, neither mom nor dad knew how to ride a bike :) well.... just a little. there were frustrations, irritations and the like.
By the second week, she's already back to school but still can't drive her bike. She still wakes up early morning, training with dad and would still train after school. I was then back to work so I couldn't help her much anymore. There were very little improvement everyday. She wasn't very brave to try it by herself and yet when we help, she complains. We didn't say anything but we purposely left her alone, we made excuses, saying we're busy. She then tried to do it by herself. One evening, as soon as i got home from work, she was excited to show me she can now drive going round and round at our front yard. But she said, she could not drive on a straight path yet. So she continued to train.
Finally, the last days of August, she drove her bike to school. She was very happy.
We were of course very proud of her!
She had some bruises and scrapes during the three weeks training but she didn't mind. She knew she wanted to be able to ride her bike to school.
Well... unfortunetaly, last Friday night, October 18, I came home to a grieving, crying and angry Aleeyah. Her precious bike got stolen, parked right at our front yard, while she was busy doing the dishes and while dad was busy making dinner. As parents, though it is also painful to us because this bike has so much meaning to us, we could only hug and encourage her to experience the grace of forgiveness and the lesson on not putting her heart into her possessions. The next day, she woke up feeling okay. She hasn't said any word about it till now. I don't know what she might say tomorrow as she goes back to school.