Maiden Voyage

My daughter and I are alike in some ways -I see her hunger for knowledge, to want to know how to DO ANYTHING… I was the same way, so when she comes to me asking to cook or clean or sew or what-have-you, I’m powerless to resist. The look in her eye -the want to DO -is something I’m all too familiar with.

But she has a quality that is completely foreign to me.
She is fearless.

Do you know how old I was when I learned how to ride a bike? I was eight. ALL of my friends could ride, but I couldn’t. Because I knew learning to ride a bike meant FALLING and I wasn’t about to buy into that crap.
So my Dad bought me some training wheels. We put them on my bike and I let it sit, sit, sit… I know that training wheels promised to HELP with the falling, but they didn’t look very sturdy to me. I mean, shouldn’t they have been wider? thicker? made out of cement and steel and iron?
I finally got the hang of it (with heavy encouragement from my older brother, Mike). And you could not WRENCH those training wheels away from me. They were amazing. You couldn’t lose with those babies!
But my Dad… he caught on.
“Isn’t it about time to take those off? How long have they been on?” He asked.
“I don’t know,” I shrugged.
He took them off and then made an executive decision. WE were going to his mechanic shop. Together. I would ride and he would walk behind me and hold me up, should I need it.

That is one good dad, right there -it’s also evidence that having a Dad that owns his own business is boss.

We went along pretty good. Dad was very careful to make sure I was taken care of. I wobbled like a two-wheeled baby deer, but he used his big, callused hands to grip the back of my seat, and it steadied me.
When I was eight, I wore big pink glasses. Unlike my training wheels, they WERE sturdy.
I didn’t always (or ever) wear “cool” clothes or say “cool” things… I wanted to. I TRIED, but I was miserably awkward. I wanted to be friends with the kids who always wore cool clothes and always said cool things.
But trying to play with them at recess was painful. I tried to hard to BE SOMETHING instead of just… being.

And as I made my way through our little town as a glasses-clad eight year old, my sturdy dad behind the bike I was riding…

THEY were there.
COOL kids. And not just any cool kids… the BOY kind. A HUGE group of them (probably like… THREE!!!) and I instantly blushed. They were on their bikes. They didn’t have Dads behind them. They weren’t wearing glasses. And, of course, their clothes were fatally awesome.
I ducked my head.
Maybe they wouldn’t see me… maybe they wouldn’t know it was me.

And that’s when I heard it.
They were cheering for me! They weren’t making fun or taunting or riding straight-way to their friend’s house to tell them that I was a scaredy-scaredy who didn’t know how to ride a bike.
“You got this, Alicia!”
“Way to go, Alicia!”
“You can DO it!”

I picked my head back up, my confidence surged… and in that moment.

I treasure that day, see, because it was the one time in my life I was 100%, completely and totally a Cool Kid.
It was pretty much downhill after that, haha.

My daughter is, without a doubt, a cool kid.
She’s cool because she’s confident. She got a bike for her birthday, and she rode it as much as she could around the house.  I took her out Saturday afternoon, and she TORE IT UP.  I had to keep slowing her down. Failure never crossed her mind.  She would succeed because she couldn’t fathom failure.
And I’m holding out for the day when some of her coolness rubs off on me:

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