My kids would often go for bike rides alone.
They were pretty young, so this was the first bout of actual freedom.
The rules were:
Only go to a previously determined driveway.
Watch for cars.
There were no intersections they needed to worry about.
It was a quiet road.
The course was pre-determined.
And the first couple times, I would be waiting inside the house biting my nails.
Trying to see them out the window.
All the while, thinking. Worrying.
“Will they be ok?”
“Are they too young to be alone?”
“I really need to get over it and stop worrying.”
Because letting go is hard.
You can tell me “Don’t worry.” until you are blue in the face, and that changes nothing.
I will worry.
Especially when it comes to my kids.
I am thankful that this ‘letting-go of your children’ thing is a long process.
Because ultimately I want to protect my kids from all the potential harms that exist in the world.
But, really, would that be the best thing for them?
I don’t think it would be.
They need to learn.
And sometimes learning comes from falling.
And one day that happened.
When my daughter was passing a driveway (well behind her big brothers) a car backed out and didn’t see her.
The car hit her.
(In reality it probably more bumped her than anything.)
She was fine.
Maybe a bruise and some tears.
And quite honestly she was scared to ride her bike for a while.
But she learned to be careful.
She learned to be more aware of her surroundings.
We had a lot of talks after that about how to be safe when riding our bikes.
I probably learned more from that experience though.
I cannot control everything.
I cannot keep bad things from happening.
I cannot always be around.
I need to let go and let them learn for themselves.
All the safety measures in the world will not prevent all tragedies.
I need to let failure happen.
Oh man, that last sentence is hard for me…
I need to let certain failures happen so that they can learn from them.
Sometimes failure is the best teacher.