The three year old recently received a shiny, pink, brand new princess bike. As she was pedaling around a short walking path by our house, a thought occurred to me. As parents, we try to put our kids in little plastic bubbles and eliminate anything harmful that could happen. We buy bikes with training wheels, put bumper pads on cribs, and guards on toddler beds to keep the kids from rolling out. Some of us even buy protective liners for shopping carts to isolate our children from any filth a previous child may have left behind.
What about parents? Where are my training wheels? The first time I realized that my wife and I were going to have to figure this whole parenting thing out was when we were still in the hospital with our first daughter. The nurse wheeled her in, all snuggled up in a blanket, and sleeping in what looked like a Tupperware container. Then the nurse left… but she didn't take the baby back and take care of her for us (which I thought was rude).
The good news was that our training wheels were only a phone call away. While still in the hospital, we could just call the nurse. More importantly, after we arrived at home, family and friends were more than willing to pitch in. People brought us meals for a week or so to spare my wife of my cooking (which usually consists of only two things, frozen pizza and mac and cheese). Plus, when liquid started shooting out of what seemed like every hole the baby had, my mom was willing to talk about vomit at length.
However, sometimes the training wheels come off before you're ready (or at least before you think you're ready). In our case, I changed jobs and we moved. We had to learn to keep our balance for a little while, but before we knew it, we began to realize that wherever you go, there are people willing to step in and lend a hand to keep you steady.
I want to say thank you to all the people who over the past few years have been our training wheels (even though I think only a few read this blog). They say hindsight is 20/20, and I've realized that we've had more help than I've realized.
Well that's enough of the sentimental stuff; I'll go back to being my sarcastic self now.