Parenting Training Wheels
Here's the story...
The first time I ever saw my dad cry was when my brother graduated from high school. Yeah it was emotional, but it was also a “Thank God” cry worthy kind of moment. Perhaps daddy was having a moment where he could breathe a sigh of relief. He had raised his kids by his own trial and error and now he could coast.
After my brother's graduation my daddy began to loosen up. Today he is the patient grandfather who had the potty breakthrough with Christopher in ONE weekend after I had been working with him for almost a year; to no avail.
I was about Christopher’s age when I learned to ride my bike without training wheels. I remember it was difficult and I was constantly aggravated with my daddy. He seemed equally frustrated with me. I called it quits after I had a mishap. My bike had met my private parts, which led to me sitting my behind in a sink full of ice water and holding my pee until the next day.
When I worked up the nerve to ride again, my friend and I went off with our bikes and I learned by my own trial and error. The same thing happened when daddy tried to teach me how to drive a stick shift. This time the only thing that got hurt was our frienlationship. I was a teenager and my driving lessons did nothing for our father/daughter bonding. I eventually learned how to drive at age 19 by trial and error.
Fast forward to the present. I’m sweatin’ Christopher riding his bike without training wheels. It’s embarrassing to me, to say the least, because he’s got to be the biggest kid I have ever seen on training wheels. People assume that he is in the third grade. But he’s a big puppy, in the first grade. He outgrew his first bike before he learned to ride it without training wheels. The new bike is heavier and he's had to learn how to ride on training wheels - AGAIN! What’s worse – we had to BUY a new set of training wheels; the old ones were too small.
So I’m walking behind this giant boy giving him a nudge when he gets stuck on a very slight incline. Really?
While I am yelling and stressing for Christopher to “PUSH, use your leg muscles, stand up, SOMETHING!” I’m thinking, “Oh my gosh.” I feel like my daddy and I can’t reel it in unless I just shut up. I know I wasn’t making Christopher feel any better. In my adult rationalization, I’m thinking, “I’m not being mean” as I thought my daddy had been. Daddy was just hard on me and OH MY GOSH, I am the same way. “I’m MEAN!”
Christopher and I are so much alike, and I am my daddy’s pure bred daughter when it comes to some of my behavior. In these photos I imagine Christopher is saying, “I really don’t like you right now.”
We all want our kids to be the best and do their best at everything. We don’t mean any harm in the way we try to teach them. The way I barked at Christopher while he was trying to ride his bike is no different than parents who yell at their kids playing sports. In the end, it’s all about this face… their enjoyment…
Here’s the thing….
All in due time, after Christopher has graduated from College, is employed at his dream job, has found me the perfect daughter-in-law, and waits a reasonable amount of time to have kids of his own, I can’t wait to be a grandparent. I imagine that is when the parenting training wheels come off and I can coast.