November 2, 2010

The Moment

One of my favorite song titles is also one of the longest. It's a solo acoustic instrumental by guitarist William Ackerman called The Moment In Which You Must Finally Let Go of the Tether Which Has Held Your Hope Airborne. I can think of no greater musical metaphor for taking off Mia's training wheels.


For the last few months Mia's been telling us that she wants nothing to do with training wheels. While I try to never underestimate my kids - because I am always proven wrong - I honestly thought it was too early. I didn't think her confidence was there. Boy was I wrong.

On Sunday I grabbed a wrench and took off the training wheels. I found a pole to jam in the back part of the bicycle frame to keep her upright (the same exact way my dad taught me) and took her out to a nearby field. She hopped on her bike and took off while I ran behind her, holding the pole yelling pedal, pedal! and then I did one of the hardest things I've done as a parent. I stopped running. And I watched this girl - this no-longer-little-girl - turn into an independent pink streak flashing in front of an autumn forest. I let go of the tether and she kept herself aloft.

Mia fell, of course. A lot. But the bumps and bruises didn't shake her. She was, as in all things, determined. By the end of the day she was tired and sore but confident and proud of herself.

The rules of bike riding are pretty simple. Keep going and stay upright. Watch out for stuff that could hit you. And when you can't keep going, make sure to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, take care of your wounds and try again. That's all any of us can really do in life. I learned that again on Sunday. I might have shown Mia how to ride a bike but Mia reminded me how to live.

Posted by Chris at November 2, 2010 6:48 AM

*tries to figure out a non-sappy way of responding and then just gives up*

Mia is, as always awesome. As are you.

Posted by: Hannah at November 2, 2010 7:43 AM

Best post in a while... just lovely.

Posted by: Laura at November 2, 2010 8:12 AM

Wow. That was beautiful.

Posted by: Beth at November 2, 2010 8:28 AM

Mia does that for a lot of us!!

Posted by: niki at November 2, 2010 9:08 AM

Thank you for this. :)

Posted by: Martin at November 2, 2010 9:34 AM

(*tears glistening in my eyes*)Wow! That was beautifully written, Chris.

Posted by: Maribeth at November 2, 2010 9:38 AM

You have captured much of the wonder that is parenting. They give a lot back and sometimes (through battles over hair brushing or - ahem - candy) it's hard to see, but sometimes it just smacks you in the head with a pole!


Posted by: harmzie at November 2, 2010 9:50 AM

*love* way to go Mia! both on riding your bike w/ no training wheels and on showing a webernet full of people how to live!

Posted by: Kris at November 2, 2010 9:58 AM


Posted by: dawn at November 2, 2010 10:17 AM

Of course she did. She will remind you again and again for the rest of your life.

Posted by: k8 at November 2, 2010 10:50 AM

Mia, You Go Girl!!! We knew you could do it all along. You are such a special girl. We eagerly await your next giant step. You know your dad is a very special father don't you?

Posted by: Trish at November 2, 2010 11:48 AM

I agree with Laura, best post in awhile; and
Maribeth, tears glistening in my eyes, beautifully written.

They grow up too fast.

Posted by: Mindy at November 2, 2010 11:49 AM

Posts like this are why I keep coming to your site every day. Thank you.

Posted by: Heather at November 2, 2010 12:52 PM

*sniff* :P She's a pretty awesome kid. And I guess you're an okay dad too ;-)

Posted by: Heather at November 2, 2010 1:20 PM

Beautiful, Chris…brought tears to my eyes.
Thanks to Mia for reminding us all how to live:)

Posted by: Beth at November 2, 2010 1:41 PM

I think my daughter and stepdaughter were 6 when we took off the training wheels. We walked over to the school across the street and began on the grass, thinking it would hurt less when they fell. Do you know what? They didn't fall. They took off on those bikes like pros. They surprise me all the time.

Happy Two-Wheeler Day, Daddy-O!

Posted by: Brooke Habecker at November 2, 2010 2:24 PM

Misty here. Great post and picture. Great for Mia and the proud Dad. She's such a trooper about things.

Posted by: One Mom's Opinion at November 2, 2010 3:08 PM

Go, Mia, go!

Posted by: Sphincter at November 2, 2010 6:56 PM

Mia is so hard-core. I love the way she approaches life.

Posted by: Fraulein N at November 3, 2010 11:28 AM

Barely processing some in free time on Stumbleupon and I launched your post. Not typically what I like to learn about, but it was certainly worthy my time.

Posted by: bailey button at October 2, 2011 4:06 AM