Growing up, having a bike meant freedom. With the wind in your hair, a garbage pail kid trading card in your wheel spoke and the thrill of danger when trying to ride with no hands.
No matter the distance, if you had your bike you could go anywhere do anything, as long as you were home by dinner.
Our parents didn’t know where we were and it was no concern of ours. We were carefree and making memories to cherish for all times.
Having a bike meant riding to school, no matter how hard or awkward. Throw on that backpack, grab your band instrument and hit the road.
Helmets? Only for nerds… We had no worries. We weren’t going to get hurt. Nothing could touch us, we were invincible.
So, why the panic anytime my daughter gets near a bike? Why do I hover close to her, fearful of her falling?
I fell, all the time. My parents weren’t there to pick me up, to lecture me on being safe. Look at me, I’m still alive, all me limbs intact.
What’s my problem? I’ll tell you, the Information Age is my problem. Google and Social Media.
Growing up, gory, horror stories of kids being severely hurt when riding bikes, scooters, skateboard and more were Urban Legends to us. Things that happened to someone’s “cousins, best friend.” These things didn’t happen to us.
Now, not only are we given statistics but we are bombarded with images showing the realities of not being safe. Our friends are posting on Facebook. We are reading blogs and articles.
I’m surprised I let me kids out of the house anymore.
I even heard my oldest telling her younger sister that she wasn’t allowed to ride her scooter anymore because she would get hurt.
Am I raising a fearful child because I have become a fearful parent?
Am I denying my kids the enjoyment of just being kids? Living life, making memories?
I don’t know. All I know is I’m going to have a tough time letting go. Giving them the independence they need, so desprately want.
Being a parent is hard. Remembering to let them grow and find their own way is going to be even harder.