When I was 6, 7, and 8, I road my bike everywhere. I would leave the house and spend hours riding through the neighborhood. With friends or alone, it didn't matter, I loved riding my bike.
I didn't live in a busy city neighborhood, but our house was in the populated area in the center of the town. The idea of being hit by a car or something never occurred to me. I just loved riding at high speeds, without hands, or racing through the neighborhood streets.
Yet, allowing my daughter to do the same seems... foreign and beyond belief to me.
It is all about letting go. It is about doing more than realizing that she is growing up and needs space, it is about letting her have that space.
And it is the most challenging part of parenting for me.
I tell soon to be parents that as soon as they cut the chord, parenting is about learning to let go. It is about pushing the chicks out of the nest, watching them strengthen their wings, and then letting them fly.
In so many ways, letting go has not been difficult. There are worlds and areas in the Diva's life that belong to her - and I have let them belong to her.
At the tender age of 5, she raced ahead of me on our way backstage to her ballet performance. Having studied ballet since she was 3, she knew what she was doing. She never looked back; never blinked an eye. I knew, at that point, that I was no longer needed as escort to the dressing rooms - my place was in the audience watching her shine. I didn't have a problem with that despite the paranoia of my parental peers.
But, when the Diva got her new bike a few weeks ago and found the desire to ride without me close at hand, I found myself wanting to hold on a bit; not wanting to let go.
Remember to stay on the right. Remember to watch for cars coming out of their driveways. Remember to look both ways before you cross the street. *Remember to not fall and... to come home!*
I am learning to let go. It is a slow process, and I am not sure when I will really let her go out for a while by herself. I do let her ride out of my sight though. I trust that she remembers where she lives and the rules of the road. I trust that she is going to be okay...
In this case, it is probably not that I don't trust her but that I don't trust all the variables she might encounter!
But I am working on it!
Part of growing up, for both of us, is learning to let go. (I think it is easier for her right now than it is for me!)