Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wobbly Lines and Circles

My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
Psalm 63:8

It's a such treat to watch my boys with their father. My boys' loyalty to me is certainly unquestionable; but they also know there are some things this mama just doesn't understand. When I found out my husband let the boys climb the rockery walls on the sides of our fireplace, I nearly plotzed. When the boys talk about bodily functions in a hushed voice with daddy, I risk permanent optical nerve strain from rolling my eyes. When they wrestle like wild dogs on my living room floor, I have to leave the room so I don't worry about injuries. This is why my darling boys have an adventurous daddy! Today, daddy decided it was time for a new adventure for Wyatt-- **gulp** NO MORE TRAINING WHEELS.

Watching from the porch and various windows, I saw my baby first straddle his bike and "walk" with no training wheels. Then he moved up to peddling while daddy held on to the back of his bike with two hands. Then came one hand. A few minutes later, daddy gave Wyatt a starting push and let go. For ten solid feet, my little boy sailed along the grassy pasture ... followed by a swift thud into a pile of dirt. I wanted to run to him and check for bruises, but I saw his daddy ask if he was okay. With a dirt-encrusted grin, Wyatt rose proudly to his feet, gave the "thumbs up" signal and got back on his bike. My brave little trooper was ready to try again! He started once more with a guided push from daddy, then peddled furiously, doing almost a full circle around the south pasture! I screamed with immense pride and enthusiasm in my poor Mother-In-Law's ear, told her I would call back later and ran out to congratulate my big kid. "Did you see me, mommy? Did you see?" He asked. Twirling him around in a congratulatory hug, I told him he was awesome!

While my youngest son had been working with daddy on making it across the yard, my oldest boy was doing figure-eights from one pasture to the next; doing fancy turns in our gravel driveway in between. Watching him, I remembered when daddy had taught Alan to ride his bike. I laughed, thinking about how I insisted on not just the required helmet (which is still a non-negotiable rule with both parents), but elbow and knee pads, tough skin jeans and long sleeved shirts. The whirling blades of my "helicopter parenting" could still be heard in the distance, but I'd calmed down a lot! As Alan breezed past his brother, I thought about how much he'd grown. I remembered the toddler he was when I brought his brother home from the hospital. I blinked and my babies were riding two wheelers. How did this happen?

Every little milestone of their life seemed to start out wobbly. Life with a newborn was wobbly (for mommy), then my days slowly gained a rhythm. I went from staggering about our little house, exhausted from lack of sleep, sobbing with frustration over nursing issues and being afraid to leave the house alone to circling the neighborhood confidently with Alan in his stroller a few months later. As he took his first steps, there was a great deal of wobbling, stumbling and crying. In time, his wobbly little lines became straighter, then faster, and before I knew it, Alan was running circles around me (just in time for me to get pregnant with Wyatt and start this all over again)! In the nine years I've been a mom, I've watched my share of wobbly lines and circles. In the thirty-three years I've been alive, I've lived quite a few of them!

I would love to say that life is like riding a bike, but I don't think that's remotely true. I think life is like learning to ride a bike! There are days when I look at my bloody knees and my battered helmet and can't help but long for a "stationary bike" kind of existence! No falling, no bug swallowing, no having to watch for cars, no crashing into trees, no "helmet hair," no puddles splashing you ... no real movement at all.

It's safe on a stationary bike. You can relax and watch T.V. or read a book, you don't need as much balance, there are no hills and you still get some exercise. Why not live the "stationary" life?

You don't swallow a bug, but you don't feel the wind in your face, either. You don't pass other bikes, but your scenery never changes. There are no flowers to admire, no trees to give you shade, no exhilarating coast down a big hill. The stationary bike is alright on a rainy day, but sometimes you need to pedal on a "real" bike.

As God's children, we are granted the peace that comes from knowing that we never "ride" alone. When we are unsure and wobbly, he holds us up. There are, of course, times when we get cocky and don't watch where we're going, when we try a trail that isn't meant for our skill level, we forget to properly "fuel" ourselves or we begin to doubt God's plan for us. When that happens, we stumble and fall (sometimes rather hard!) Ever our attentive and loving Father, He is there to tend to our wounds, dust us off and encourage us to try again.

I'm not going to start climbing the rockery or belching the alphabet in the near future, but thank God for adventurous little boys (and their wonderful daddy) who pull me away from my "stationary" life! Are you tired of staring at the same wall? Is it time to risk a skinned knee and some helmet hair in exchange for a wonderful new view? Strap on your "helmet of salvation" and go forth!

In Lenten Love and Friendship,

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