Today was "Bike Trade-Up" day. That means the oldest got a new(er) bike and everyone got to move up one. What that meant for my 6 yr old was a bike with no training wheels. It had training wheels once upon a time, but who knows where they went. I guess he didn't realize they didn't have training wheels, or at least was meant to have training wheels. Cause after several minutes struggling to stay upright he look at his younger brother on his bike and exclaimed, "He can do it! Why can't I?" We pointed out little brother had training wheels, he did not.
So I was his training wheels. I held on, with one hand because I was carrying the baby, to the middle of the handle bars. I walked with him up and down the street, turning around when we got too far. I didn't even let him wobble. He was safe and secure, as secure as he would have been with some extra wheels at the end. And I was reminded of all the times in our lives we require training wheels.
When they learn how to sit we place pillows around them, or sit behind them to prevent heads cracking on the floor. When they stand and take those first precious steps we walk behind, ready to catch at any second. When they are ready to take off walking, we are there by their side, holding their hand. When they go off to school for the first time or go to a friends house overnight, we let them know we are just a phone call away or just on the other side of the wall. We prepare our children with all the rules of interacting with people, showing them examples by taking them shopping, to museums, to friends houses with us. Then when they are ready to go out on their own, we watch them off, knowing we have instilled in them all we could and its now their time to shine.
At first it might be scary to realize you don't have your training wheels anymore, but the more they do it the more confident they become. For them as well as for us. And when its time in our lives to once again enter a new phase, to do something we never have done before, we know that all our training up till now has been our training wheels. When its time for us to switch our focus from our children to the rest of the world, when we become the volunteers or the grandmothers - its then we realize our children were our training wheels.