Monday, June 17, 2013

Look Mom! No Training Wheels

Do you remember when you learned to ride a bike? I vividly remember the day. I was riding the white and yellow banana seat bike, trying over and over to get my balance. My brother, Chris, was holding on to the back and trying to help me up and down the driveway of our Wanda Street house in Ammon, Idaho. I just couldn't seem to get the hang of it. I remember everyone leaving me out there alone. I was determined to get this bike-sans-training-wheels thing. In my mind I rode for hours trying on my own to get it. And finally, triumph! It was probably one of the first things I taught myself how to do. I nailed it and was in bike heaven.

On Saturday, my oldest son finally figured out how to ride his bike without training wheels. I worried all summer last summer that it might take many summers for Andrew to get the hang of this. He insisted that he didn't want his training wheels removed. But last week he got out his bike and asked my husband to raise up the training wheels. Within a few minutes he was ready for them to come off entirely. He took off like a pro! Oh man was he excited to show me his new trick.

Today he spent the whole afternoon after school riding his bike up and down our street. I let him venture a little further when he could show me he had a pretty good handle on using the brakes. He kept commenting on how much faster he could go with the training wheels off.

I thought a lot about how this is a great metaphor for our lives. Last summer, Andrew was too nervous to even try raising the training wheels, let alone remove them. It was always slow and steady, but wobbly, and predictable. I wanted for him to do what so many of his friends could do. I was anxious for him. But he wasn't ready.

When he was ready, he went for it and let go of the things that were holding him back. He still fell a few times, once pretty badly. But he got back up and flew down the road over and over.

I wonder what holds me back from experiencing all that the Lord has in store? Am I desperately holding on to training wheels, playing it it safe, unwilling to trust a little more fully. Do I see that the ride will be liberating, invigorating, enlivening. Do I see that the training wheels are actually holding me back. I can't move with the same speed and agility. I can't go to nearly as many places and maneuver with the same dexterity. What are these spiritual training wheels I "need" to hang on to? When will I have the courage to let them go?

As I ponder on that, I get to enjoy seeing my seven year old discover the new found joy that comes from having courage, working hard, and trusting himself. He's going to have a great summer on that bike, I can see it already!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Doing Normal Things

The last two weeks have NOT been normal. The first week was a super amazing trip to Guatemala, which I promise to post about soon. The second week was spent with our oldest son in the hospital and then trying to get my husband ready for a six week work assignment away from home. I've had a little bit of a hard time processing everything that has been going on. Today at pre-school pick up one of the other mom asked how I was doing and said I looked very tired. To her credit, she is a great woman and helped so much with my younger kids last week while I was at the hopsital. I don't think I realized how tired I must appear (and I had even takedn a nap this afternoon. Ha!)

In an attempt to digest all of this non-normal behavior, I decided I better do something "normal." So I mowed the lawn. Just the front, no trimming. I am going to miss my husband this summer. I don't really like to mow the lawn. It's sort of patchy and bumpy. But it was almost up to my knees in some places and had to be done. And it looks so nice.

I also washed the "big" dishes, you know, the one's that don't fit in the dishwasher. This is my most un-favorite job to do. Usually Jim takes care of it. But again with that six week assignment thing...

So I guess I'll be doing lots of "normal" things on my own for a while. Kudos to all those single parents and military families! New normal is still normal, right? And at some point all that non-normal stuff will be digested and just melt right into normal.