Sunday, 17 June 2012

Ride like the wind...

Our paths through the wonders of raising children are a lot like teaching those children how to ride a bike.  I saw the parallels myself today when taking the littlies through the first joys, heartaches and ultimate triumphs of riding their first two-wheeler bikes.

There is the beginning phase, where every moment is encompassed in just keeping them alive.  The Sweetpea and I, holding onto fistfuls of jacket at the scruffs of the boys necks as they teetered on their bikes along the path, were able to guide the bikes and keep them upright by holding onto the handlebars with what, at times appeared to be only our teeth, or possibly even just one foot. Every swerve we were able to counter, and when all fell apart, as it invariably does, were were able to let the bike plunder on to its inevitable crash while the little rider in question dangled in his jacket from our clenched fists, like a kitten from its mother's jaws; scared, but unharmed. 

As their confidence grew, we were able to take our hands off the handle bars for increasingly longer times, relinquishing the control we had fought so hard to keep just a few moments earlier.  This required trust, a belief that the boys could be responsible for managing on their own, yet still with our presence close enough to them to swoop in and grab them up if they seemed like they were losing control.  Their repeated cry to us at this time was "Please don't let me go," and in fact, most of the more spectacular crashes at this time were caused by the boys looking behind them to see if we were indeed still holding onto them.  We always were.

But then comes a time when, as a parent, you are just running alongside the bike.  Not needed, really, but essential for moral support.  "You are doing it - you are riding by yourself!"  And the power and self-confidence that comes through knowing that they can ride as fast as they like, but if they come off, mom or dad are right there to catch them, makes them almost invincible.

And then the saddest, most heart-wrenching and proudest moment comes all too soon.  "Don't hold me any more, Mama, I can do it by myself." Like winged creatures, they are off, joining the throngs of others riding the paths, and you are left with your heart in your mouth, praying that you have given them enough skills to make their way through the world, to avoid the pitfalls, to pay heed to the slower riders, the younger, the more accomplished.  

And mostly, you are praying, with all that is in you, that they will know how to find their way back to you again.

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1 comment:

  1. What an amazing parrallel! The things that a mother's heart needs to deal with!!
    They will know how to find their way back to you :-)