Monday, June 09, 2008

Farewell to the Training Wheels

{Today’s crafty post has been pre-empted by long parental musings. Regular craftiness will resume momentarily.}

A few weekends ago, we took the training wheels off the youngest kidling’s bike and she’s utterly enamored with biking – crowing with delight as she zips down hills and taking the inevitable falls with equanimity. As I ride behind her, watching her sit tall in her little saddle with her legs joyfully pumping, I’ve made the bittersweet realization that it’s not only her bike that no longer has training wheels, but her life and, in a sense, my life too.

This is what I mean: The youngest kidling just finished up her last year of pre-school and will head off to Kindergarten in the fall. She’s had four wonderful years of learning how to share, listen, inquire, make friends and make messes. She’s excited to go on to the big adventure of elementary school and I hope she approaches the ups and downs of school with as much joyful crowing and equanimity as she does biking.

Extending the training wheels metaphor to myself took a little bit more emotional untangling. When formulating our plan to have and (more importantly) to raise children, Chris and I decided that I’d stay home with them until the youngest started school. And with the help of our supportive parents, we’ve been fortunate enough to make that happen. So for the past 7 years, I’ve been the primary care giver for our daughters (because of Chris’ very demanding work schedule, we can go ahead a put an added emphasis on “primary”).

While they are terrific kids and frequently hilarious companions, I must admit to sometimes feeling as if the kidlings are tethered to me like a set of training wheels – and you don’t have a lot of maneuverability or speed with training wheels. But with both of them going to school full-time in the fall, my return to a metaphorically two-wheeled life is on the near horizon, a thought that fills me with both joy and trepidation. I’m thrilled at the prospect of more time to myself, but I worry I haven’t done enough to prepare them for school and life. I’m also not quite sure what my life will look like when they go back to school. I have some very vague and some very definite plans for what I’d like to do, but I’m bound to feel pretty wobbly for a bit, readjusting to my two wheels.

And so I bid a fond and bittersweet farewell to the training wheels…and look forward to the wobbles to come.