Ever since I found out I was going to have a little girl, I’ve been beyond excited for the moment when she would learn to ride a bicycle. I clearly remember my dad racing behind me as I pedaled with all my might and all my courage, terrified that he would let go, yet giddy with the idea that I could do it all by myself. It is one of the most important and poignant moments in a child’s life.
Today we bought our daughter a beautiful pink bicycle complete with streamers hanging from the handlebars and a zippy (and already overused) little bell. I can’t precisely pinpoint the moment at which my daughter changed today, but she did. Once she got onto her bike, she glowed with confidence and anticipation, and I saw her focus like never before. I tried to run alongside every step of the way, but quickly, she went ahead. Brave and eager.
I try very hard not to be overly sentimental, but today, watching my daughter, I was a bit of an emotional mess. Helping her lean to pedal and steer a bicycle then ride on her own just smacked me in the face as what a parent’s job is all about: teach them well, then let them go. I found this day, and more intensely that realization, startling. I really wasn’t ready to let her go but was relieved and grateful that she was prepared and excited to make her own way… albeit down our little street, then back again.