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An Old Memory

Today, when Rooster and I got home from running errands, I saw my neighbor sitting outside, watching her two young children play.

As I said hello, her son said, “Watch me.”

His mom explained that 15 minutes earlier, he had learned how to ride his bicycle.

This was significant to me because just last week, as his mom and I talked, I watched him struggle.  Over and over again, I observed as he tried his best to get himself started.  That’s probably the hardest part of learning to ride…getting the wheels going.  But he didn’t have the balancing down either.

Today, I stood amazed as I watched him fly down the sidewalk.

He’s four years old, and his bike is tiny.  But, it’s a two-wheeler with no training wheels.

As he pedaled back in my direction, I saw his huge smile.  He was so proud of himself.

His mom’s face mirrored his own.

I felt so privileged to witness this momentous event, and I was taken back to the day that Chicky learned to ride her bike.

We lived in an apartment in South Florida, and we had gotten her a bike for either her birthday or Christmas.

We took her to the basketball court, which was unoccupied at the moment.  We figured that the smooth surface would be easier for her to learn on.

The Mr. stood behind her bike, reassuring her that he wouldn’t let go.

And off he ran…Chicky pedaling as hard as she could go.

They went back and forth a couple of times.

And then…

The Mr. let go…

And Chicky didn’t know…

She flew halfway across the court before she figured out that Daddy had let go, which prompted her to lose focus and fall down.

She was a quick learner…no surprise there…and easily mastered getting started on her own.
It’s a memory that was buried until this afternoon.

The feelings that accompany such times are mixed.  On the one hand, you feel joy as you watch your children experience the freedom they were longing for.  You also experience a twinge of sadness that your children have, in some way, discovered that they don’t need your hand to hold them steady.

We had an unofficial rule in our home regarding bikes.  Every two years, the kids got a new ones.  And it was always bigger to accommodate their growth.  At first, they would teeter a bit, but it never took long for them to be jumping cracks in the sidewalk, as confident as they were on the older, smaller bikes.

As the years have gone by, we’ve once again replaced wheels…exchanging two for four…as in cars.  Just as we stood behind them giving them advice on how to steady themselves on their bikes, we’re now giving advice on how to stay safe amongst other four-wheeled modes of transportation.  I think this time we’re more scared than they are.

Watching my young neighbor learn to ride made me feel like the Mr. and I are behind Chicky’s bike again…barely holding on as she begins her ride toward adulthood.  In one week, she’ll officially be a “Senior” in high school.  She knows how to pedal, and every day she learns to balance herself a little more.  Soon, we’ll let go for good and watch her ride away.

Am I ready?

I think so.

But I’m also a little sad.

Chicky is Paranoid

The Mr. and I accidentally scared Chicky last night and got quite the chuckle out of it.

She and Rooster were getting ready to leave for youth group when the Mr. told me that when Chicky left, he’d tell me something.

I asked if it was something bad, and he said no, but he didn’t want her to get mad.  You know how it is…teens are unpredictable in their reactions to things.  It doesn’t take much to set them off.

So, I made my way to the garage to see if they had left and ran into Chicky in the laundry room.  She sensed something was amiss and asked what I was doing.

“Nothing,” I said.

She gave me THE LOOK that said she didn’t believe me but left anyway.

I went to the back of the house to get the Mr. to spill the beans.  All he told me was how she was planning on adding workout sessions with her physical trainer next summer to get ready for college.  She also wants to find some good camps to attend to keep her in shape.  They had this conversation on the way back from practice, and it shocked him that she initiated it.

I told him, “I told you so,” because a few days before I had told him that she was finally taking ownership of herself…not complaining about practices and getting serious about prepping for next year.

As we talked, Chicky rushed into the room asking, “Am I in trouble?”

We started laughing.

“You mean you turned the car around and came home just because you thought you were in trouble,” we asked her?

You could see the look of relief on her face when she realized that all was good.

See, she had been grounded the week before.

The punishment?

No cell phone.

It was a travesty…the worst punishment you can inflict on a teenager.

Guy Friend had just left for college, and she couldn’t text him minute-by-minute updates…”Eating a sandwich for lunch…” “Wiping my mouth…” “Getting up from the table…”

You know what I’m talking about.  Unlimited texting amounts to about 3,000 texts per month.

She told us that she thought something was up when she encountered me in the laundry room, but then Rooster had come in the house (we didn’t hear him) and heard my, “I told you so,” and assumed that I had “discovered” something Chicky had done.

Um…we won’t go there.  Let’s just say that there are little horns that reside just below the girl’s halo.  I’m sure you parents don’t have any idea of what I’m talking about (insert wink and a tinge of sarcasm here).

So, we fessed up.

Sure, we were talking about her, but in a GOOD way.

I think we’ve learned a lesson that we can just say what we want and not worry about how she reacts.

She left, able to enjoy her evening at the church, and we smiled, thinking that maybe…just maybe…we’re finally getting somewhere.  There is light at the end of the tunnel.

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