Monday, February 3, 2014

Sometimes You Have To Let Go

I let her go.

I had to.

How else would she learn?

She stayed upright for a few seconds. She wobbled to the left and then....clattered to the ground.

"You let me go!" she yelled indignantly.

"I can't hold on, otherwise you'll never learn," I explained gently. Tears prickled my eyes as I realized the sentence I had just uttered applied to life too.

Natalie got to her feet and kicked her bike. "I'll never get this!" she shrieked.

She had been trying to ride a two-wheeler for a couple of days. Her friends all rode two-wheelers. Natalie was the only one with training wheels and she had marched into the house one day proclaiming that it was time to get rid of them.

"I'm big now," she had said, shrugging.

So we took them off.

And she fell.

A lot.

Oh, she had pads, of course. A helmet. But she still claimed she was hurt. She didn't understand why I'd let her fall.

It pained me to see her tumble off her bike. I just didn't show it. If she saw I was petrified, she might not concentrate. So I pretended to be confident as I'd say, "Okay, I'm letting go now," while I jogged beside her. My hands would grasp the seat and the handle, and I'd slowly release my hold. It was the same each time: Natalie would ride upright for a few seconds and then she'd fall to the sidewalk.

"I don't CARE anymore," Natalie insisted as tears rolled down her cheeks. "I want my training wheels back!"

I reminded her that she could do it. It would just take a few more tries. Couldn't she try again? For Mommy? No? For Daddy, then? Yes? Okay, here we go...

Each time she'd ride a little longer.

I would clap and whoop. I was hoping my noise would distract her from falling. Sometimes it worked.

And then one day as I jogged beside Natalie grasping her bike? She told me to let go. She assured me she could do it.

My fingers broke free. I watched as Natalie kept going.

"I'm doing it!" Natalie said triumphantly. "I'm DOING IT!"

"You are!"

"Only I don't know how to stop!" Natalie said, dragging her feet against the sidewalk. She tilted slightly and managed not to tip over. "I'm growing up!" Natalie informed me.

"You are." My heart squeezed. She was only six, but the years seemed to have flown by.

And now?

Natalie is a pro on her bike. She rides confidently with her friends.

Letting go? Was worth it.

This time.


  1. Awwww, she said "I'm growing up". That kinda made my eyes well-up with tears. They just grow up so faaaaast! But congrats to her and to you, definitely letting go was worth it.

  2. *lip quiverying* Why do they have to grow up so damn fast?

  3. Stop it! I don't even have kids and this made me ready eyed!

  4. Bawling! Such a beautiful post in every way. She is growing up and you are letting go. SOB.-Ashley

  5. This was such a sweet post. I really loved it.

  6. Oh how sweet. Somehow teaching a child to ride a bike is such a special, poignant thing, isn't it? Letting go is insanely difficult sometimes, but oh, how rewarding it can be when we do :-)

  7. Aww. Tears in my eyes. It's a true what everyone tells you.... They grow up so fast.

  8. This made me tear up, what a wonderful post! That first picture made me chuckle a little bit though because it reminded me vaguely of the time that I was first learning to ride my big and I ran smack into our mail box!

  9. So sweet! Frances still can't ride without training wheels, but that's mostly because she never gets to practice. I'm hoping she'll master it this summer. Henry has only ever ridden a balance bike, so I'm hoping that when he gets a big bike he'll take right to it.

  10. Hooray Natalie!!! I love your analogy, so true.....

  11. So sweet. Good for her for getting it, and good for you for letting her go.

  12. I think..I have something in my eye! (wiping away tears)
    I was really late to ride my bike. Seven, I think. Maybe not very late, but slightly.
    Scarlet has finally mastered the trikes/bikes with training wheels. And I just know one day it will happen for her/me too.
    And I'll just come back here and read this!

  13. Awesome story! My oldest turns 20 today and this was certainly appropriate. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Oh, letting go!!! So necessary yet so very hard sometimes!!
    On a lighter note - look at all that fun workout time you got in helping Natalie learn to ride her bike - and it didn't even feel like hard work, right?!

  15. Such a sweet story. And, a great analogy. Being a parent is so freaking hard, heartbreaking, and wonderful all at the same time. It's no wonder we're all a little crazy. :)

  16. OH my gosh I absolutely loved this, Amber! A little kid on their first solo bike ride is absolutely priceless. The dialogue between you two is adorable :)

  17. aw, when she said "I'm growing up" I both cried...and wanted to pull her back so you could hold a few more moments. Ah, the push and pull of motherhood will forever have me tied in knots I struggle to untangle.

    Good for her!!

  18. Awwe, I loved watching my kids learn to ride a bile. Now they are learning to drive cars amd that isn't as much fun *pout*

  19. Sooo sweet. I remember learning how to ride my bike.

  20. You made me cry!

    They grow up far too fast. And that letting go thing? It never gets any easier.

  21. I remember when my dad let go of my training wheels. Great moment immortalized in a blog post. Love it.

  22. I loved this piece, I do not have any children but it still made me almost-weepy!

    Thank you again for popping by my blog xo

  23. Oh my goodness... so so sweet! :) I still remember learning how to ride a bike... felt like a bad ass when I learned how! haha

  24. Is it terrible that the first thing I noticed is that you're snapping pictures while she's on the ground. I'm fairly certain you were getting the evil eye, but I have one exactly like that of Lena.

  25. I was the same way when my mom let go - as soon as I noticed I'd be like, hey, what the heck! and fall right over. Eventually my training wheels just kind of fell off and I kept going, heh.

  26. Aww, that was so sweet! I felt my eyes tearing up at some moments reading this post! :)
    Natalie is more talented than me! It's a little embarrassing to admit, but I never really learned how to ride a bike. I can go a little ways without falling to the pavement, but I'm really bad at it. I just never cared about it as a kid, and now that I'm older it's too embarrassing to even practive. Ack!

    The Girly Gamer

  27. Thanks for the tears! This is so sweet! I'm glad that she finally got it.

  28. Big achievement! Go Natalie! (and mommy for letting her)

  29. Woohoo! She did it. Yes it is hard to let go but at times they only way they will succeed

  30. Letting go is so hard! We got Michael his first brand new bike ever for his birthday. I'm hoping he is able to let go of his training wheels this summer too.

  31. Way to go!!!! This post made me a little teary eyed. I have a love/hate relationship with "letting go" when it comes to our kids!

  32. My brother taught me how to ride a two wheeler. Taught the crap out of me. Only, he didn't teach me how to brake either. I was so excited I had to show my neighbor, who, at the time was a psychiatrist and I had no idea. She dragged her whole family out to watch me. When they realized I was flying off my bike on purpose to stop, her husband, which I did not realize at that age... was a naval Admiral... taught me how to use the brake. Now, years later I look back and go whoo. My brother was an idiot, but somebody very important taught me, a very little girl how to brake on her two wheeler. Awesome :)

  33. This post reminded me so much of when my kids were learning to ride their bikes and recently my son with a skateboard. It takes letting go and a lot of scrapes and bruises and tears. Glad she got the hang of it.


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