Saturday, my oldest daughter Riley learned a new word: momentum. Since it was such a lovely Valentine’s Day (a balmy 60 degrees in the middle of winter), we spent some time outside practicing our bike riding skills. It also happened to be my birthday weekend (but we’ll get to that later).
At any rate, Riley was eager to make it work this time, so I walked her through the mechanics of bike riding. I told her, it all comes down to control and momentum. Meanwhile, it should be noted that during this practice session with Riley, Olivia was pedaling backwards and forward on her tricycle all by herself (and to my knowledge, the first time she’s mastered that skill). Some people simply seem to create their own momentum…
Riles began circling the driveway, every time she would slow down, she would eventually crawl to a stop and struggle to get the bike started again. But when she peddled faster and faster, she would exclaim with a sense of pride, I’m doing it daddy! I’ve got momentum. Olivia on the other hand I had to caution against having too much momentum (she fell off her tricycle at least 3 times). Funny thing is, both had a great time outside bike riding, though each of them totally did it in their own way. Riles, as usual was methodical and wanted to learn. Olivia, as usual dove right in head first. Classic.
And there you have it, story of my life: building and sustaining momentum. In every area, from my marriage, to my parenting, to my career and friendships. Once you learn how to build and sustain momentum, you can always re-apply the skill. That’s why it’s like riding a bike. It works for everything, take relationships for example. There was a moment Saturday night before we put the girls to bed where my wife and I looked at each other while they were brushing their teeth…old school jams from Midnight Love playing in the background (can a brotha set the mood?!), and all we could do was laugh. Every plan we’d made for celebrating each other and enjoying the weekend had been foiled by one miss-hap after another (largely traced to a child, though the Valentines Day egg was all on me). But still, this is the woman I love. And I’m talking about love that’s grown deeper, sweeter, and more fulfilling over the years. So, like riding a bike, it’s my pleasure to re-ignite the romance cycle every chance I get. Man, I love getting carried away with that woman…I actually love getting carried away with any of the things I truly love (which is why I sat through yet another screening of Frozen with my girls this afternoon).
Life is unpredictable, parenting can be unpredictable at times, anyone who has lived more than 32 seconds, much less 32 years knows that. But our response to life doesn’t have to be. Sometimes it’s good to get carried away, and other times it’s a good idea to master momentum with control. That’s why consistency and discipline are my secret weapons, and anchors for how I build and sustain momentum. Part of the joy in riding a bike (or living life in general) is seeing where it takes you, enjoying the journey. Momentum is a servant, not the other way around. So as I take stock of where I am, only 32 years young now, I’m pretty humbled at the journey thus far.
PS- As I finish writing this, Riley just presented me with a homemade valentines day card…and Olivia is demanding my attention. Better soak it up while I can, time to get carried away.