I have a colored snapshot that I keep in the corner of my mind’s eye.
It is one that I can always recall with vibrant clarity.
It is early spring.
My darling little girl and her bicycle.
She has a smile that stretches from rosy cheek to rosy cheek beneath the helmet atop her golden brown hair.
She is perched proudly, if not hesitantly, atop her new bicycle.
The training wheels give her confidence and hold her up while I take the picture.
Our first house is behind her, framing her as if it too wants to shield her within its embrace.
My daughter holds the handlebars like she is revving a motorcycle. She is anxious to dart forward down the long sidewalk towards town.
In my memory she is always telling me: “hurry up, we have to go around the block again, daddy.”
She travels ahead of me, but never too far out of reach. Never so far ahead that I can’t reach out and take hold if she stumbles or tips over.
When she looks back it is to check her safety net and make sure that I will catch her if she falls. But I also see the look she always gives me whenever she is ready to take another step forward on the pathway of her own life.
Soon we’ll take the training wheels off her bicycle.
It will be another milestone in her life, another goal that I’ve been blessed to be there to help her achieve.
Another step farther away from her safety net.
I hold the bicycle with her.
I sense the nervousness but determination to succeed.
The spokes whirl faster and faster as she gains confidence.
My hands slip away ….
And I let go.
Story by: Jerry Hersil
[Photo of Jerry with children “all grownup”]
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