A lesson in learning to let go

Gwenn Crittle

Jerry via Flickr

Over the past weekend, my 7 year-old son learned how to ride his bike without training wheels.

I did it mommy, he said.

He rode his bike down the sidewalk and around the curve without the aid of my maternal arms holding the handlebars or his shirt.  With tears in my eyes I began to jump up and down because I was so proud of him for so many reasons.

When I was married, I always had the vision that the bike training would be more of a father-son event but then reality set in.  I am a single parent and have been since my divorce when my son was just a year old. I have been the one to experience what many call the “father son events.”

Bike riding I put off for a couple years because I didn’t know how to teach him and I was waiting on his father but when that never came through, I told my son would teach him.

About two months ago, I grabbed his bike and began taking off the training wheels.  I simply said to him that it was time he learned to ride without the aid of the training wheels.  He was a little scared and so was I.  Our fears were the same.  He didn’t want to fall and I didn’t want to see him fall.

A few times a week I would take him outside and I would hold the handlebars while he peddled, then when I thought he was getting it a little I would hold the back of his shirt and occasionally let go.

This past weekend, during one of our training sessions, my son turned to me after he had fallen and said, “You know mommy, I could do this by myself if you would just let me go.”

I looked at him at first and gave him the ok-but-don’t-look-to-me-if-you-fall expression and let him go.

He did it! He began to ride.

As a single parent I definitely know that I don’t allow my son to do things on his own. I sometimes smother him with assistance instead of letting him try it on his own.  When he said those words to me I realized that he is capable and he can do more than I give his little body credit for.

Later that day as a gift, we made a trip to his favorite toy store for a little reward.