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We'll be celebrating my daughter's fifth birthday, an important milestone, in just a few short weeks. But we experienced another major event in her life just three weeks ago.
With her hands on her hips and full of self-confidence, she announced to her dad on a Saturday afternoon that she was ready for him to remove her training wheels. I knew this was coming, because her and I had previously discussed it. But it still came as a shock when she actually said it.
When it comes to my kids getting hurt, I am the stereotypical worried parent. When my husband proceeded to completely remove the training wheels, I panicked! I suggested just raising them a little bit, a mere "baby step". He had the nerve to remind me that she was no longer a baby, something that I choose to ignore whenever possible, which can be difficult to do while encouraging her to grow and learn and experience new things.
I was outnumbered, and the training wheels were completely removed. I secured the elbow and knee pads, re-adjusted her helmet to ensure proper fitting, and she ran over to her "big girl" bike. I was tempted to close my eyes or run inside, but I couldn't bear to miss a moment that was so exciting for her.
Dad also raised her seat, when we noticed that she had actually gotten taller since last fall. He helped her on her bike, and started guiding her down the sidewalk. They made a few trips back and forth, and I thought to myself, "Hey, this isn't that bad." I figured I had a few weeks to go before she got the hang of it.
Ha! They showed me! It couldn't have been more than ten minutes later, when my husband officially let go, and my daughter continued to ride on her own, knowing full well that he wasn't holding on anymore. There was no stopping her now. She rode that "big girl" two-wheel bike back and forth for the next two hours. She hasn't stopped since then. And I was there that day to share in her pride.
I learn so much from my daughter, and on this day, she reminded me of another important life lesson. My children will grow up. I can whine, complain, and stomp my feet in protest all I want, but it won't stop the seconds from ticking away. Therefore, it is extremely important to cherish every moment we have together, to experience their lives with them, to be a part of every single day of their lives. Don't live in fear of time or change - you'll never be able to replace the moments that you miss.
At this rate, it won't be long before they'll be graduating from two wheels back to four wheels. And then my husband again will have the privilege of being the driving instructor.
Yes, we all want to hang on for that extra moment, but there comes a time when we must let go and allow them ride on their own.