Hello world. I’m slowly making a return to blogging, so as I work on some other posts, please enjoy this one that I wrote almost a year ago, but decided not to post (probably out of some sort of insecure “not good enough” feelings or something…more on those another time)
“Good job, you’re doing great! Remember to steer!” My voice is all encouragement and bright excitement as I coach my daughter on the finer points of riding a two-wheeler (with training wheels: this is her first “long” ride around the neighborhood on this bike). My eyes, however, are far up ahead, on my five-year-old, precocious “little” boy, who has already made it to the bottom of this quiet suburban cul-de-sac and is looking to take the very steep bike path that is our route home.
This is his first long trip on his new-to-him bike too, and though his front wheel wobbles often and he drags his feet to brake, he’s already entirely confident that he can take this short but very steep hill down to the other part of the path. I’m his mommy, though. While he’s surely imagining a victorious rush to the bottom and a smooth glide at the finish, I’m picturing a flip over the handlebars, a bloodied nose and dental work.
Biting my lip, I watch him go. And wait.
I want to yell for him. I want to drop my daughter’s bike in someone’s front yard, scoop her up and go tearing after him. I need to know my boy is safe, that he’s not lying on the ground unconscious (“surely his helmet would prevent that,” I tell myself), that he took the right hand path and didn’t go straight, to the road, that he isn’t talking to a stranger, or trying to pet a strange dog without asking.
As I shoot my prayers to heaven, preparing myself to run if I have to, God gives me a little nudge, a reminder of what my husband had said to me weeks ago (as I was tearfully reciting yet another list of mommy-fears), “have a little faith. You’re not the only one looking out for him.” I keep my mouth shut, my feet alongside my daughter’s training wheels.
Finally we round the corner, steep hill conquered with me holding her handlebars. Finally, seeing my boy–my good little boy!–circling the “traffic circle” created by the convergence of several paths (waiting so patiently for his slow mommy and little sister), I understand these small daily feats are as much a test for me as they are for him. Can I let go? Can I take the risk of letting him fall when a fall needs to happen? I can’t be there holding his handlebars for him the rest of his life.
This year he’s going to Kindergarten, and my firstborn will be out there, in the world, most days of the week without me. Yes, it’s just afternoons, yes I’m sure the teachers are quite competent. And this is the smallest of his steps to getting “out there.” But I’m so freaked out! God, give me the faith to continually be giving my kids into Your great hands, and remind me daily that that’s really what this is about. It’s not about them going it alone. How often I forget that.