So when it occurred to us recently that Mr. Pants was crazy good at riding a bike (of course he is), Daddy's heart skipped a beat. "I need to take him to the bike trail", he said. I returned with, "Maybe just an empty parking lot? What if he gets tired on the trail and can't ride any further? What if you get a mile in and there's an injury? What if he's not ready for a bike trail!!! He's only three! ". And that's right about the time I almost had a mini stroke thinking about my two boys out in the wilderness, hurt, alone, stuck under a boulder and being eaten by bears. The look in Daddy's eyes took me back to a familiar place. "He's Mr. Pants. I'm his dad. I'll take care of him. He will be fine." I admit that he would indeed love it and start bargaining with Daddy about having a first aid kit and never leaving his phone in the car. The eyes staring back at me send a very clear message. They say, "You are going to your crazy place again.". It's true. I was. But I am getting better at this letting go thing. So I take myself by my shoulders and shake the crazy out. It's a bike trail. I'm not sending them off into the dessert on a quest. I mean, it's a paved trail five minutes from the house. So I take a deep breath and pretend to let go of my anxiety. I fake it until I make it. Because the spark in daddy's eyes said to me, "I need this. I have been waiting three years to go on a bike ride with my son" and I needed to quit being such a anxiety ball and not pee on his parade. So off to the bike trail they went. Father and son. Going on an adventure. I waved goodbye and employed my strategy of taking deep breathes and muttering to myself like nut. Trusting (well trying really hard to trust) that they would be ok. "They will be fine", I said to myself. "They will be fine. They will be fine. They will be fine".
And you know what? They were just fine.
Even if Daddy did get thrown from his bike attempting to help Mr. Pants get up a really steep hill. Lil dude refusing to leave his bike because he was literally having the time of his life. But he couldn't get up the hill. An assist from Daddy was needed. And instead of riding straight on once at the top, Pants turned his wheel toward Daddy's front tire. Successfully making every effort to only hurt himself, Daddy hit the ground. And upon seeing his dad go down, Mr. Pants followed suit. In a grand gesture of solidarity, Mr. Pants dramatically and in slow motion "fell" off his bike and lay next to his dad. Waiting for him to shake it off and ride on. So there IS something that can get that kid off his bike. He wants to be just like his dad. Even if it means falling.
When Daddy relayed the story, my heart filled up. Because yeah, they survived the first injury but also because I realized that Pants was going to follow his dad's lead when they encounter trouble. I exhaled. Again. And fell in love with the idea of my boys out there adventuring. Connecting. Being free, together.
So I let go of another fear. Well almost. I just need to review safety measures for bear encounters and teach them to Daddy.