Despite my insistence that it was bath time, Abigail – inexplicably dressed in her choice of a red flannel nightgown since 4pm – pleaded for permission to ride her bike around the block. I insisted, she pleaded.
So there we were: me walking, she pedaling. As we hit the halfway mark, we arrived at that spot in the sidewalk where the pavement is missing in large spots, a few tufts of grass growing amongst rocks. It’s not impassable on a bike but it’s intimidating if you’re five and still use training wheels. Abigail sounded her concern and slowed down.
I’ve often said I don’t have a significant quantity of unique insight into parenting. I have plenty of stuff you’d hear and think “Oh that makes sense” but maybe it doesn’t occur in the moment. Timing is everything though. What keeps me from writing more about is this: I know what worked for us but that might not work for you. Most parenting advice should come with the caveat “Here’s a blueprint, expect that you will make changes, build additions.”
Yet as we hit that spot in the sidewalk, the sun coming down on Father’s Day, Abigail questioning her fortitude and me at the end of a five-months-long learning experience, I hit on something universal enough to pass on, if somewhat greeting card-like in its phrasing.
“Abigail, don’t go slow, you’ll get stuck. If you hit rough terrain, just pedal harder and faster. That’s the only way to get through it.”