Light Notes: Parenting is letting go and holding onto memories

Lucy Luginbill, Tri-City Herald (Kennewick, Wash.) on

Published in Religious News

First. Last.

They don't often collide. But when they do, your heart knows.

I was a witness to that kind of occasion years ago — a "first time" I knew would be the "last time."

It happened in such an ordinary way, a scene that's been repeated between parent and child through the generations. An event that often isn't given much thought.

But as I stood in that moment — one long past but so present in today's memory — my daughter had run alongside her little son, his feet furiously pumping the bicycle pedals and her hand steadying the wavering little boy. My eyes had grown misty.

"You can do it!" Tiffany urged between breaths. "Just look straight ahead, not back at me."


Standing in the distance, I could see Luke was beginning to feel the rhythm, the balance — and inner courage — to pedal faster ... and away from her gentle touch. With his eyes focused on the path ahead as he'd been instructed to do, his hands gripping the handlebars, this little boy left training wheels behind and rode into a new day.

First. Last.

It was his first time to ride his bicycle all by himself. It was also the last time his mom would protectively jog by his side. There was joy and a bit of sadness; a clock that would never turn back. But that's what parenting is — letting go when the time is right.

We teach, guide, pray and hold on until we know our child is equipped for independence, trusting God with their future. Then, we shout encouragement — a tear in our eye — as we watch them "ride" toward adulthood, knowing they might not look back.

But if they do, or if they falter, they'll see we've got their back; that our hands and heart are always there, ready with support. Because where love is concerned, there's never a "last."

(c)2022 Tri-City Herald (Kennewick, Wash.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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