Today we went for a bike ride with the kids. Well, I wasn’t riding a bike; for me it was more of a get-my-daughter’s-bike-rolling-and-then-run-after-her-while-she-rides kind of event. My daughter is almost ten and she has overcome a lot of challenges to be able to ride her bike as well as she does now. Since she was little, she’s had some issues with sensory integration. Things that are simple for most people can present her brain with conflicting messages about where her body is in space. When she was really young, going up and down stairs was a real challenge because each stair, to her brain, was the equivalent of stepping off the edge of a cliff. To get her through some of these challenges, she went through a lot of Occupational Therapy and hard work. Eventually, she learned how to do things like swing on a swing set, go down a slide, climb stairs and play like other kids her age. However, things are still present a challenge for her where others may not see any problem. One of these things was riding a bike. The motion of riding a bike and the tilting to the right and left were a lot for her to be able to come to terms with. Eventually, we spent a week with her at a camp where they teach kids with special needs how to ride bikes. It was the best thing we ever could have done for her. She was able to learn to ride in a way that worked with how her brain processes information. Now, she just needs a little help getting started and she’s off like a flash. Seeing her ride her bike for about a quarter of a mile nonstop was just great. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to see your kids growing and becoming more independent little by little. It’s also a great reminder of the impermanence of all things.
When I see the smile on my daughter’s face after she stops the bike and waits for her mom and dad to catch up with her it makes all of the hard work, all of the time spent, all of the stress and pain of trying to help her be able to have experiences that most of us take for granted worth it. I am so proud of her and everything that she has done. She never gave up on learning to ride and her dedication to things she wants to do is inspiring. She has a wonderful voice and whenever she hears a song that she likes, she won’t rest until she has it memorized. Then she’ll work on learning to play it on the piano. Her musical talents are great sources of joy for her and for me. I’m proud of her and her skills and I’m happy to teach her about music and encourage her to constantly improve to the best of her ability. I love her grasp of language and her sharp wit that can throw out a cutting one liner dripping with sarcasm and humor at the same time. I love the passion she brings to everything she does. Soon, she’s going to be ten years old and I can’t believe that she’s grown up this fast to be such a beautiful and wonderful little person. Sure, things will continue to change as she grows older but it’s going to be a (mostly) enjoyable experience for us. Change can be hard because we won’t have our adorable little girl any more and will have a growingly independent young woman on our hands but that’s our job: to help her grow and change so that she’s able to handle her own life. Parenting is an exercise in attachment and in letting go. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.