The bike was heavy with a kid-with-no-balance perched on top. Trying to keep it straight with one outstretched, woman-weak hand firmly clasped to the back of the seat while running wildly to keep up didn't feel like a winning plan. I'm sure it wasn't a pretty sight. Yes, this is definitely a Dad job.
They all learned to ride though, and I survived it too, I suppose. My kids learned balance and gained control of the bike. It unleashed them to broader territory. And all it took was balance and control, keys to the kingdom. After all, they're the same thing, right?
I learned that wobbling through trial and error really does lead to learning, and that you might have to look a bit foolish in the process.
My little bike-riders of yore are now adolescent and not so sure they want their mama hanging on behind them, fighting desperately to keep them from falling. I, too, am beginning to think I might be dead weight, making their job harder. And it's definitely not a pretty sight.
I'm the one who is now off-balance, flailing and stumbling behind the confidence and eagerness of youth peddling wildly forward. From my vantage point, I see, not confidence and eagerness, but inexperience and exposure to greater risk. But I can also see (and hear) why they might want to shake loose the frantic woman behind them who incessantly reminds, pesters, badgers, pleads. Why is letting go so dog-gone hard?
Maybe because I see a few potholes up ahead. Maybe because I see my own scars from the ones I hit. Maybe I don't want to relinquish my role as their teacher, knowing Life's lessons are ever more painful. Maybe I love being in control. Maybe I'm realizing I never really was in control. I thought the process was fail safe. It worked for riding a bike. How I wish this could be a Dad job.
But riding a bike and living life are not the same, and neither are balance and control. In fact, one must be let go of to grasp the other. I'm beginning to figure out which one I want to lay hold of. And this is definitely a Mom job, because Dad sure seems to be having no trouble.