This past weekend, my six-year old granddaughter faced the dreaded "no training wheels" time on her bicycle. I had secretly begun to feel out what I was up against a couple of weekends earlier when I nonchalantly mentioned it might be time to attempt such a monumental feat when the weather warmed up. When she replied with a firm "No!", I knew I had my work cut out for me. But, another weekend passed and I gently prodded again, this time implying that many of my kindergartners at school had probably taken their's off by now. This time, there was a faint acknowledgement of the possibility when she replied with a "maybe."
I don't know what finally motivated her, but she was barely out of the car on the next weekend, when she proclaimed to everyone that she had decided to take the training wheels off of her bicycle. So, it was off to the garage, and because I can't resist a good teaching opportunity, I gave her a mini-lesson about numbers and leverage and how a 9/16 Craftsman wrench worked.
First, it was all around the grassy yard with me pushing her until my back was aching, and imploring her to "find your balance, find your balance." It was after many easy falls and trying again and again, that she was truly beginning to find that elusive feeling. She was not going to give up easily and it was time to move on to the large blacktop parking lot next to our garage. I figured that the next childhood memory to be burned into her brain was going to either be one of glory and victory, or it could very well be one of traumatic terror, blood and stitches.
With her chin held high, she shouted for me to let her go as I gave her one final push and sent her on her way. She peddled and peddled, around and around, smiling, giggling and shouting as only six-year old girls can do. She had found her balance and let go! She is going to be okay....
My dad is loosing his fight with cancer and I don't know how much time we have left. Lately, when I am alone with him, we quietly talk of finding a different kind of peace and balance, and letting go. He will be okay, too.