No more training wheels …

On June 15, 2011 by Aimee

A time for help. A time for independence.

A time for help. A time for independence.

Monday evening, as the sun burned bright and the temperatures hovered in spot way higher than my own comfort zone, my two 7 year old daughters (with their 7 year old friend) went out to attempt the improbable. If Mom and Dad weren’t up to teaching them how to ride their bikes in 90 degree weather, then they’d darn well do it themselves.

I wished them well, sat back in my air conditioned house and waited (but without baited breath) for the screams of frustration, the scraped knees and potentially conked noggins (but they always wear helmets).

About an hour later, the downstairs door slammed, shaking the whole house. Footsteps pounded their way up the stairs, and I heard,


The punctuated cry out followed with,

“I did it!”

My husband’s office door opened as Emily, wide-eyed and with a huge smile on her face ran into my office.

“Mom! I did it! Kate held onβ€”” Her arms gestured wide. “β€”and I was pedaling and we were on her bike and she went with me and then she let go and I did it!” Yes, all of that was in one sentence, with absolutely no punctuation or pauses.

“Wanna see?”

How could I say ‘no’ to that?

Shut the laptop down, husband puts on his shoes, I slip into sandals and out on the driveway (which is the length of two cars and the width of two side by side and at a slight incline), my daughter and her friend are getting her started.

Of course, if she could do it there, I had to see what she could do on flat ground with more space. So, we walked the bike over to the cul de sac and Emily sat atop it without her friend hanging on and from that moment on … she rode her two-wheeler … by herself … without any help.

After a few tears and screams of frustration, Abby rode her bike around the same area, circling each other, back and forth, around and around.

From 4 training wheels, to 0 in 2 hours with the help of a friend.

That’s what friends are for, right? They help us, guide us, prepare us, work with us and push us. Whether you’re 7 or 27 or 57 or 97 … there are some activities in which we have training wheels, and the moment they are gone, we wonder how we’ll ever function without them. Or, we have them, and we need them though we know we must get rid of them. But how?

I feel like this in some regards.

Sometimes, my crutch, my training wheels, are people who do things for me in a way they don’t even realize it. Sometimes, they know it, and I do, too. I have come to rely on them for advice, encouragement, inspiration, acknowledgement.

At other times, when they just aren’t there, for whatever reason, and I’m left to my own devices, fear and anxiety can sneak in.

But some other instances, they are right there with me. They hang on tight until some moment when they let go and I’m off on my own. The thrill of success flows through me. My moment of “I did it!” comes through.

In parenting, I’ve had my training wheels and I still rely on them (Mom and Dad).
In photography, I’ve had my crutches, though now, I act in the opposite role for some.
In my professional career, I’ve leaned on my supporters, except now that I’ve climbed the ladder, others lean on me.

In writing, that hand is still on the seat, but hanging on only by fingertips, about to let go, to see me ride on my own, to see if I can do it, to cross their fingers and clap when I succeed.

Luckily, if I fall, they’ll be there. And when I soar, they’ll be there too.

No more training wheels. It’s time to ride with the big boys.

What crutch are you hanging on to with every last ounce of energy? What are you about to let go of? Share!