Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Get Back Up Again

When I was 5 years old, my dad decided it would be a good idea to take the training wheels off my Strawberry Shortcake bike and send me down what I thought was the biggest hill in town.

This hill just so happened to be right in front of our house. It spanned a block, ran past the old fire hall and the library, and dumped you right onto Main Street. I don't know which is more appalling: the fact that he sent me straight into traffic or the fact that he did so without me wearing a bike helmet. Those of you who know the Main Street I speak of know I'm being facetious here. With a population of 400, traffic wasn't exactly an issue. And I don't think bike helmets were even invented yet.

Anyway, there I was freckle-faced and 5 years old perched at the top of the hill, legs shaky, stomach a little queasy, but as ready as I was going to get. Dad put his hand on the back of the bike and we inched forward just a bit.

"Ready?" he asked.

My memory's a little fuzzy, but I'm pretty sure he didn't give me a chance to answer.

Picture me - eyes wide, knuckles white - and dad, jogging to keep up with my wobbly wheels. The pace picked up a bit. And then it picked up even more. And...


He'd let go.

And as soon as I realized I was on my own, crash!


Man, that hurt. It hurt bad.

With skinned knees and snot rolling down my face, I looked at my dad and just knew.

I had to get up and do it again.

Thirty years have passed and I often find myself in the exact same spot.

This grief thing has knocked me down. It's knocked me down pretty good and I want so desperately to get back up.

So I try.

I've been trying to put myself out there, trying to get back to the land of the living.  But I often find myself in the same spot:  legs shaky, stomach a little queasy.

Sure, I do OK when I have somebody by my side. Most times that's Scott; other times it's a friend who's good at running interference for me.

But what am I to do when that person can't be there? I certainly didn't expect my dad to ride around the neighborhood with his hand on the seat of my bike for the rest of my life (OK maybe I did) and I certainly don't expect to have someone to act as my crutch from here on out.

So there are times I ride solo.

I fall.

And it hurts. It hurts bad.

But it's more than skinned knees.

It's a bruised heart. A broken spirit. Hurt feelings.

I cry.

And I get back up again.

So yeah, it's just like riding a bike.

Only it's not.

No comments:

Post a Comment