Tuesday was tough.
It was my first day back as “homeschooling teacher-mom” after Daryl and Amelia had almost an entire month off. (Not recommended!)
Supplies were out of order. Books had gone missing. The kids had forgotten how to behave. I had forgotten how to behave. And to top it all off, I caved and put milk in my coffee. (Not Whole30 approved!)
I felt rusty and wobbly—like trying to cycle with a rattling chain and a squishy tire, on a blacktop surface covered in wet leaves.
Around 11 a.m. we took a break to regroup. The kids apologized for saying rude words. I apologized for raising my voice. We prayed together for forgiveness and grace and strength and focus, and we began again.
The afternoon was better—but barely. We slogged it out. An uphill ride all the way.
When Peter came home at 6 p.m., I was still helping Daryl pound out his piano lesson. Amelia had Oogly Clay spread liberally around the nook. And dinner was not yet even a thought in my head.
Tuesday was Peter’s first day back to work as “college professor,” and his day had actually been a little like ours. He, too, was feeling rusty and wobbly. Some of his students had said rude words. He came through the door and announced, “I’m hungry, just so you know. For lunch, I only had soup.”
To which I may have said a few rude words of my own.
My squelchy tire may have caught in the gravel around that tight curve, and I may have fallen flat on my face in the mud.
The summer that Daryl turned six, we thought it was time to take the training wheels off of his bike. But we procrastinated.
I assumed that learning to ride on two wheels was going to take a lot of time. I imagined that Peter or I would have to hold his seat and run behind him for hours on end. I was afraid the process would involve skinned knees and banged up elbows. I thought I was sparing all of us the frustration by putting it off.
Finally, in August, we bit the bullet. We removed the training wheels and walked him down the street to an abandoned parking lot. I had my running shoes on, prepared to serve as stabilizer.
Daryl mounted the bike as I held onto the seat. Then—wouldn’t you know!—he just took off. He just started riding, right across that parking lot, as confident as could be. I was amazed! I cheered and waved and took plenty of pictures. And I felt foolish for not getting him to ride sooner. Think of all of the summer fun he had missed on my account!
However, since the initial riding came so easily for him, we failed to complete his training.
We forgot to teach him how to fall.
So when he took his first tumble a few days later, there were a skinned knee and a sore elbow and a bruised ego and lots of tears. He had the horrified look of the betrayed. That stupid bike! That stupid bumpy path! He even tried to blame me. He never wanted to ride again.
Commence the lesson.
How to Ride a Bike, Part 2
Yes, we can talk about how to keep a fall from happening again. We can put preventative measures into place. We can find a smoother path. We can get you elbow pads. But really, Daryl, the most important thing you need to do is this: get back on the bike.
Because here’s the thing.
When (not “if”) you crash your cycle, you have a choice.
You can sit and stare at your skinned knees. You can cry. You can kick the blasted bike and blame it for the fall. You can blame your mom. You can banish the bike to the back of the garage.
OR, you can get back on and ride again.
It looks like the ability to say, “I will not be defined by my inevitable falls, but by my fearless returns.”
Commence the lessons.
- Don’t let your fear stop you from even starting.
Here it is. Mid-January. And some of us have been putting off an area of growth. We’re afraid to remove the training wheels. We’ve talked ourselves out of it. We think we’re sparing ourselves and others the frustration.
Some of us need to march down to that abandoned parking lot and just give it a go. No more excuses. It’s time. You’re missing out on summer fun, on something good. Let this be your push.
- Don’t let your falls define your ride.
Some of us started strong. We took right off without too much trouble, but we’ve tipped over already.
Some of us need to bandage the skinned knee and regain our resolve.
Some of us need to return to a New Year’s resolution we already abandoned by the side of the road.
Some of us need to put additional preventative measures into place. Some elbow pads, maybe? Or pick a smoother path on which to practice.
Some of us are starting a new semester, a new project, a new endeavor—feeling rusty and wobbly. We’re riding uphill right now. We desperately need someone to cheer and to wave.
Some of us need to rinse off the mud. We need to apologize to our spouse or our children or our colleague or our friend. We need to reengage in relationship. We need to pray together for forgiveness and grace and strength and focus, and begin again.
Some of us just need to get back on the bike.
I, for one, am here to hold the seat for you. I’ve got my running shoes on. I might even take pictures.
In the Comments, or on Facebook, let us know how we can pray for you as you “get back on your bike” today.
It’s another “homeschooling teacher-mom” day for me. His mercies are new every morning! Great is His faithfulness. Prayers always appreciated. Keep pedaling, people!