My feet kept a slow, steady rhythm on the sidewalk as my mind raced with memories. I watched my fifth grade son’s legs, which were mostly covered up by his tall and trendy knee socks, move the pedals of his bike around in effortless circles as he rode away in front of me.
And I relived another moment in my mind. A moment when I’d walked on that same sidewalk, behind the same boy.
I saw his little feet awkwardly push the pedals on the pink and purple Barbie bike, complete with matching girly training wheels.
My first grade son was riding his little sister’s tiny bike. What a sight it had been!
His knees came up above the handlebars with every turn of the pedals. The training wheels gradually bent upward as his body weight tipped from one side to the other. His red helmet clashed with the pink and purple paint.
He looked ridiculous.
Neighborhood kids giggled as he huffed along in view of their yards.
And though my son was big for his age and in first grade, he didn’t know how to ride his bigger boyish bike. He had never had a chance to learn because when he was a toddler he had leukemia and underwent three years of chemotherapy.
And mostly, I was too afraid to put him on one.
But one day, I chose to let go.
I let go of my fears and I let go of his bike seat as he wobbled and strained and learned to balance on his own on a bike that was his size.
It was so scary. I did not like it at all.
But I let go.
And now as I watch his long legs pedal his man-sized bike with ease, I exhale and I smile.
It’s so hard to let go.
But letting go makes moving forward possible.
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