The past few months, Will has flat-out refused to ride his bike at all. When I tried to find out why in a kind and quiet conversation with him one day, he looked at me with worry in his deep brown eyes and told me he was afraid of breaking his arm and needing a cast if he fell. I'm not sure exactly where this idea came from, but I have experience now in helping Will work through these kinds of anxieties, which are not new to him. I've been using the strategies we've been taught to help him, and have had him find facts that would let him realize that most of the time when people ride bikes they don't break their arms. I thought that if Will had a more balanced view of the situation, it would allow him to let go of that worry a little so he would be able to give his bike another spin. But still, often when the subject of bike riding has come up in recent weeks, Will has yet again mentioned with great concern the possibility that he could break his arm.
A few evenings ago, Matt got an email message from one of his brothers, telling us that his wife was in the hospital after having an accident on her bike earlier that day. Her front wheel had got caught in a streetcar track; she flew off her bicycle and landed hard on her wrists and arms. Her right wrist now has two broken bones, and her left arm has a broken forearm bone and a badly dislocated elbow as a result. She has had to have surgery to have various plates and screws added to her arms to stabilize them, and she is in casts that go up past her elbows on both arms to keep movement to a minimum for the next while. (I know, doesn't that sound awful? Poor girl.)
It freaks me out more than a little bit that out of all of the injuries Will could have imagined to keep him from bike riding, he has consistently worried about breaking his arm, and now a family member has broken both of hers doing that very activity. It's as though my always keenly observant and perceptive boy could see exactly what was going to happen before it did. One thing is clear: when the details of this sad accident reach Will's ever-listening ears, that little blue bike in the garage is going to be waiting a long, long time for a rider.