It’s been awhile.
Life has a way of coming at you fast, ya know? Just when you seem to get your head above the water of whatever wave you’re riding, the tide seems to pull you under and you just can’t get back to the surface.
And that’s what life did to me lately…like a totally unexpected, unpredictable tidal wave, I found myself drowning in my own little corner of the universe and – to be honest – I am still struggling to get to the surface and take a breath.
I’ve missed so many parts of ME that I had to let go for a bit, including being a part of the AAMB crew.
I missed writing. I missed the therapeutic punching of the keyboard as my thoughts transfer from randomness in my brain to words on the screen.
Truth is, the longer I stayed away, the scarier it was to think about jumping back into my narcissistic prose of all things mamahood.
And then, my daughter got back on her bike.
In January, my husband was out of town. In an effort to pass the hours between preschool pickup and bedtime (that I SWEAR are longer than 60 minutes) I took my three-
ring-person circus for a walk around the neighborhood. The boys in the double stroller, my daughter on her bike. She flew past me as we walked down the street, and as I immediately felt proud of her (because gosh she used to be so timid and shy and hesitant to test danger!), her wheel hit the curb and she flew off the side of her bike.
Surprisingly, I did not spaz out in typical-Jessie-fashion. I remained calm, minimized her bloody, scraped up knee and elbow, and convinced her to get back on her bike. I knew if we let that incident end our walk, she may never ride again.
Kidz Bops blared on Pandora (HELP), and my girl pedaled on.
About 5 minutes later, her training wheel shot off the side of her bike and she barely caught herself before almost crashing into a mailbox.
I guess in the first wreck the training wheel had been knocked loose?
Visibly (and understandably) shaken, she asked me if we could go home.
Nope. No dice. No siree-bobtail. I screwed that training wheel back on and made her get back on that bike again. I was not going to let her become scared of riding that bike!
About fifteen minutes later we’re halfway around the ‘hood and that dang training wheel flies off as my sweet daughter simultaneously flies OVER THE HANDLEBARS AND ONTO THE STREET.
This time, I did spaz.
She screamed the most blood-curdling scream and I scooped her up as quickly as I could (I know, I know, I should’ve assessed her injuries first).
And then we both watched as that training wheel rolled all the way down the hill and into the gutter, never to be seen again.
Thank goodness there were no major injuries. She was pretty scraped up and banged up and bruised, but it could’ve been a lot worse.
You know what was worse? My mama guilt. I made her get back on the bike, you guys! With a wonky training wheel!
A couple neighbors had witnessed the crash and luckily offered to drive us back home. And upon arriving, I poured myself a cocktail and gave myself some grace (after, of course, applying about fifteen Finding Dory bandaids and scooping a bowl of ice cream and turning on Netflix).
Fast-forward about a month and a half.
“We’re going to go on a walk today. And you’re going to ride your bike! I got you some new training wheels!!”
I will never forget the fear that swept over her sweet face.
She begged – BEGGED – me not to make her ride her bike. (I’ll walk! I’ll ride my scooter!) But I knew we needed to rip off the bandaid, now that the wounds under the Finding Dory bandaids had healed.
And y’all? That ride around the neighborhood was one of those mama moments you know will be etched in your mind and in your heart ’til the end of time.
There were tears – on both our parts – and lots of tough love. I so wanted to give in. To wrap her up in my arms and tell her nevermind she’d never have to ride her bike again. Or even more so? I wanted to promise her she’d never crash again.
Truth is, she probably will. She’ll fall off, at some point.
But I needed her to know that it’ll be okay. She may crash again. But she can always get back on the bike and keep pedaling.
So here I am, trying to get back on my bike. Trying to pedal, to look ahead, to focus on what’s in front of me and not behind. To find my rhythm again as me, as a mama…to get my head above water and keep it there.
To wake up each morning and tell myself that I may stumble and fall and crash – but I can start pedaling again and try to do a better job of being just exactly who I am. And who I am is okay. Who I am is enough.
The most important step is to – each day – make myself at least get back on the bike.