letting go: a transferable skill

 

The Pedal Bike Ritual

It is

Christmas Day

because the parents

are fortunate enough

to be able to give the bike

on Christmas Day

when it is almost

too cold

for riding a bike.

She is

blue jeans

sweatshirt

shiny helmet

shallow breathing

all

anticipation

fiveyearsold.

The mother thinks

of 1980

or 81

when she learned to ride her own bike

can see it

in her mind clearly

almost exactly

the same except

of course the helmet.

There is no helmet in the picture in the mother's mind.

The daughter

on the street in front of the house

puts her feet on the pedals

tries

to balance without pedaling

quickly sees

no

that's not the way.

But

the parents know the way.

Of course

the dad holds the back of the bike seat

runs

behind her

keeps her

from falling.

The mother thinks

maybe

I should be holding the seat instead

because 

it's too stereotypical

it's too gendered

it being the dad job to hold the back of the seat

when mothers can hold backs of seats too

after all.

The mother watches.

The daughter tries

twice

and

her balance is off.

The seat-holding dad is working hard.

They have a new idea.

They go up the street to a hill.

A gentle hill.

The top of a gentle

hill.

Again

she tries

again

the seat is held to help

of course

again 

the balance is somehow

off.

There have been four attempts

only four tries

and it is

too early

it must be

too soon

only four tries in to this big important parent and child thing they're doing

but

the dad can feel it is time

and

the dad and the mother agree silently eyes met

and

the next time down the hill

he

 

lets

 

go

suddenly

it happens:

 

she is a bike rider.

 

That holding on was fucking up her balance.

And now

she's free.

It is Christmas Day.

They cheer and call the grandmother down from the porch to check it out up close.

. . .

Apply when appropriate to parenting, strategic, staffing, and creative conundrums that just refuse to work out.

If you've been holding on so long that you can't tell whether your grip is too tight or just right, ask someone you trust for a little perspective.

Wherever you are in your various letting go efforts, you are not alone.

(If you need to reach out, here I am.)

Sending love.

Cheryl