I thought teaching our daughter how to ride a bike would be easy.
My memory of learning when I was 7 or 8 is foggy. I remember walking my bike down the hill to an apartment building to ride in the parking lot in the middle of the day when most people were at work. I remember my mom running along side me holding onto the back. Somehow the magic started, she let go and I was off on two wheels. We moved to a new neighborhood when I was 9 and by the time I was 11 I was allowed to ride to my best friend’s house down the street. We rode all over our neighborhood. We learned just where we had to push hard to get up the big hill and where we could let go and coast, flying all the way to her house.
I tried to teach our oldest how to ride a bike.
She was taking ballet, ice skating, swimming, riding horses so a bike seemed like no big deal. We live with no sidewalks and little traffic so it seemed like both our girls would learn easily. She mastered the training wheels and then it was time to take them off. I ran along side her for days, but she couldn’t get the hang of it. We went to the neighbors big meadow which was flat and grassy, but no luck. I asked her dad for help and he took her down to the meadow and tried and in one or two tries(or so it seemed) she was riding. I couldn’t understand until he explained it to me.
“I had to actually push her away from me. I was holding on too long and it was knocking her balance off.” He said. “It was the hardest thing I have ever done.”
It seemed so simple, but almost impossible to do.
Push her away and let go so she could fly.
There were a few more days of me running around with her and I pushed her away just once. The rest of the time she was ok as long as I was next to her until that didn’t matter anymore and she was riding, It didn’t take long, thankfully, I have never been a runner so it was hard on me to keep up.
I keep coming back to that moment. I keep remembering the feeling of pushing her away knowing full well she would fall, but also knowing that was the only way she was going to learn.
I don’t know if I want to cling more because I had cancer.
I think I am just a mom. I have tried so hard to not cling even when that was all I wanted to do.
Our youngest is getting a lot of one on one time with me and her dad. It is great because she and we are getting to see just who she is becoming without dividing out attention daily. We are learning who we are as a family with one less kid at home. I have no idea what it will be like when she is back but she is a force of nature when she is here to be sure.
I am trying to let go of all the heavy responsibility I have held onto for 18 years.
It isn’t easy. Just when our oldest was moving along in her life, the middle of junior year, she had a car accident that meant she needed to lean on us. At the exact time she didn’t want to do so.
When I left her at school we hugged a few times and then I picked up a box of trash and headed to the door. Her roommate kindly opened it for me and I cried all the way back to my hotel across the street. I had to take the step of walking away because she wouldn’t kick me out.
Neither of us knew how to say goodbye. Though she warned me not to cry.
Now she is at college and we facetime and text and email and call and I miss her but I am also thrilled for her. I still slip and input some mom stuff like “don’t put your drink down” and “make sure you and your friends are looking out for one another at parties.” I can’t help it. Hopefully she will forgive me those moments.