What Would I Think About It?

The helmet made you look like an expert, geared up for your Tour de Neighbourhood. Your happy/anxious chatter filled my ears as we headed out to face the day’s challenge and adventure. Determined, lips pursed in concentration, we began my marathon training…I mean, your two-wheel bike riding trials. Gain speed, pedal those little legs, balance, DO NOT shoulder check – I am right here, steer. And again. Over and over we worked it together and, incrementally, I would loosen my grip and tighten at the first sign of wobble. Loosen, wobble, grip, return to safety.

So today when you started your request with “What would you think about… ”  I wanted to go back there. Back to when I could keep you safe just by tightening my grip. But you had to be so mature, opening a discussion, willing to perspective take…who taught you that anyway?? It was easier when you asked for cotton candy before supper. No. That was all. Just no. Now I have to be all grown up and consider this calmly.

No Cotton Candy, for realz?

You want to know if you can drive to K-Town with three friends from here, to visit your pals who are at university there. Sounds straightforward.

Let’s see? You could die. Repeat first point. You could make a driving error that results in injury or death to your friends, which would be terrible for them and terrible for you. And terrible for me, because this calm consideration does involve me having all manner of horrible and extreme possible disasters befall you, beyond the obvious. But the realities are sobering enough. If When you get there, you will be on a campus with thousands of other raucous young people on the weekend before Halloween. I don’t expect you will encounter much studying. Bahaha. It will be mad partying. You could die. Repeat first point…

Ok, ok. Alright. I will follow the rules of reason. But I don’t like it, just saying. You’re a very good driver. You’ve acknowledged the risks one by one, and the responsibilities. Any driver could die on a four hundred series highway. The friends you’ve chosen are reasonable. Your sister is there. You party here and manage the risks, so you know those regardless of place. You could die here.  (sheesh, there is a lot of dying possibility even on the reasons to say yes list) You’ve just finished your first college mid-terms with impressive marks and you miss your buddies. It’s not winter yet. Your sister was on the other side of the world at your age. Bazinga. You also deserve the dignity of risk.

But 4oo series highways move fast. And look at what happened to your face when you crashed your  bike all those times, I mean that one time that was a complete fluke? I have a fleeting image of myself running beside the car repeating the “loosen, wobble, grip” approach. That I would even think of that is alarming, if amusing. Holy ambivalence Batman! I want to say yes, but the risks are real.


Then I get the clearest picture in my mind. I’m running beside your small bicycle, having waited for just the right moment. I’ve let go, and you’ve noticed. Your face lights with pleasure and absolute joy. “I’m doing it Mom! By myself. I’m doing it”!  Yes you are, my love. You really are.  That was only the first of many  “seats” we let go so you could go ahead by yourself. And you are really doing it beautifully. By yourself. With us watching and cheering you on, and praying that we did enough trials together that you can return yourself to safety if things get wobbly.

He’s on his way…

PS. Now DO remember to shoulder check. I’m not right there this time.

So, friends, what would YOU think about it?


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19 Responses to What Would I Think About It?

  1. Tariq says:

    I just read about the minivan in Alberta that ran into the school and sent three kids to hospital. My headspace, today, is that my 20-month old daughter is never allowed to leave the house for the rest of her life.

    • M says:

      LALALALA. Hands over ears. I’M NOT LISTENING. He just left. In fact, he is on the 416 as we speak… You are a wonderful father Tariq and your daughter is very fortunate to be so well loved and given the security you provide for her. I know you will have the wisdom to do the letting go that must be done when the times come. Even if it seems impossible.

      • Tariq says:

        Letting go?! LALALALA. Hands over ears. I’M NOT LISTENING. 😉

        • M says:

          Can you keep me laughing for the next two hours?? Or two days, really, truth be told?

          • Tariq says:

            I can try: Sameya was at the front of the house and we were in the kitchen. We heard, what sounded like, Sameya slamming something repeatedly on the floor. We looked at each other confused as the slamming got louder and louder as she was clearly moving toward the kitchen. She wasn’t slamming anything. She was walking in Melissa’s heels.

          • M says:

            Fabulous. See, she’s already figuring out how to do things by herself…

  2. Lynn says:

    This is a scary leap to take as a parent but I absolutely think you should let him go (as said by the greatest helicopter parent of all time, so that’s saying something!). He’s old enough and you have raised great kids – time to hold your breath, cross your fingers, close your eyes and push them off to fly. Let us know how it goes!

    • M says:

      OK Lynn. I trust your judgment. I just pushed him…er…released my claw-like grip on his shirt as he got into the driver’s seat. He’s off. Can you come over and rock me?

  3. Dianne / Smilenwaven says:

    Damn you Mary, you’re like Barbara Walters… I’m always teary by the end of your posts! :) AND they always take me back… remember DS going to TO for 1st time… EEEK! But he also was and is a good driver, so I’ve calmed down now! It DOES take a while tho! xo

  4. Agatha Ryan says:

    Well a very big decision for you I am sure to agree to this journey and yes there were many seats you have let go of over all these years and he has proven how capable he is of “doing it myself”.
    Hard to believe that little guy has graduated from riding that bicycle to sitting behind the wheel of that BIG BICYCLE – and exciting day for him.
    I think there will be a guardian angel shoulder checking

  5. Kat says:

    Yes to the shoulder check, and then do it again for safe measures. Make sure every one is wearing their seat belts. Keep your eyes on the road and leave the air instrument playing to your buddies.
    Feeling it with you.

    • M says:

      Amen sister. I appreciate the shared feelings. And I did give your advice, and then some 😉 I even asked, “So, any other worry things I’ve forgotten to share?” He was most tolerant and gave me a very sweet hug when he left.

  6. Charlene says:

    I was hoping the story ended with “and I cocooned him in bubble wrap and locked him in his room.The end.”

    Alas no.

  7. Brenden says:

    Parenting is being courageous – even more so than when you took those exciting steps yourself. Back then you only saw the rewards, now you see all the risks. You’ve equipped them to do it, so step back, you must do it. Be courageous!

    *Disclaimer – my eldest is only 10yo. I really appreciate your sharing Mary. I totally expect to be nervously pacing, checking mobile, taking valium…

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