Training Wheels

The sandwich generation experiences the joys of kids growing up and the sorrow of aging parents.

Earlier this summer, T showed interest in bike riding again after having no interest last year.

While he loves zipping down the park, he doesn’t yet feel comfortable taking off the training wheels.

And that’s ok.

I thought about the milestones T has experienced and the ones ahead – and it feels like a series of buildups to taking off the training wheels.

Hands pressed against the wall as he learned to walk. Holding my hand as he learned to go up and down stairs. Hand over hand as he learned to eat with utensils. Getting him potty trained. Hours of practice to help him learn to read.

For me, training wheels also represent the additional scaffolding supports we’ve been blessed to have for T.

Speech therapy to help him learn to talk. Behaviour therapy to help us support T in his early years. His amazing Child and Youth Workers who supported him in kindergarten and Grade 1.

In my prayers, I often hope for T to be successfully independent one day.

It’s too early to tell what the future holds, but I am aware there may be a future where the training wheels don’t completely come off.

Enjoying kayaking with T during our recent visit to his grandparents.

Life is a circle – our youth a mirror image of our twilight years.

As I coordinated and took Ma to her appointments the last two years after her stroke and then her muscle disease, I thought about how training wheels return in our elder years.

I watched her work hard during physiotherapy appointments to learn to walk with balance.

I listened with amusement as she told me about working with a speech therapist after her stroke caused her to slur her speech.

I am aware of how limited time is as she asks to hold my hand when we walk outside.

Being part of the sandwich generation is an inevitable part of growing up.

The most trying moment to date was a very stressful week this past March.

As we looked forward to a long-awaited Spring Break vacation, I had to plough through four busy days of work plus four appointments for Ma.

Then T got sent home sick. So we also had to take care of a sick child and virtual schooling, plus the anxiety of our vacation being in jeopardy.

It all worked out – but the stress taught me I can’t do it all and to set clearer boundaries.

One day, T will kayak on his own without me.

A morbid person might say the second we enter this life, we are taking steps towards our exit.

But I choose to enjoy the incremental milestones, detours and side trips along the road of life.

Take it a day at a time and have faith that things work out the way they should and that every life lesson is a quiet teacher.

As with most milestones, T will move at his own pace – sometimes faster, sometimes as anticipated, sometimes needing more time.

This summer, he decided he would finally brush his own teeth without help from the hubby and I.

During a recent morning, he zipped through getting ready in the morning – which can be torture at times – getting dressed, brushing his teeth and combing his hair. All on his own.

Then said with a big smile, “Don’t I look handsome?”

He sure did. And very modest too, apparently!

23 thoughts on “Training Wheels

  1. Not only are you a great father but a wonderful son as well. I pray your Mom continues to get better. I love hearing how T is progressing like brushing his teeth etc., he’s growing up so fast.

    1. Thank you, Diane! I’m very thankful my mom is as good as she will be given the stroke and I’m equally thankful T is also growing up. 😊💕

    1. Thank you! You bring up a very good point. We are very blessed that my Ma got to experience the last six years with T and vice versa – and ditto my in laws. I often wish my dad (who would turn 100 this Saturday if he were still alive) would’ve gotten to meet T. He would’ve been quite amused by him!

  2. Love every word of your post Ab. It’s like almost a self reflection of what we went through as a Parent, as a Son or Daughter to our aging Parents, as individuals going through our own milestones that continues day in, day out till our last breathe. Thank you for the positivity, Hope and inspiration. We need it in a World full of anger and pessimism. I often catch myself praying and hoping my Son will be successfully independent one day. Right now, he shows interest in driving, and knowing full well the many dangers and accidents in the fast road, scares me a lot. Take care and regards.

    1. Thank you for the lovely comment as always. 😊 Life truly is one big circle, so let’s spend it as much as possible with positivity and don’t let the world leave us angry and pessimistic. Good luck as you start thinking about driving lessons for your son. I will admit the thought of that for my own T scares me. I can empathize with your concern! But like everything, you will get through it a day at a time!

  3. It is kind of funny how life works like that in terms of needing training wheels during our early and later years of life. When we’re younger we often get help from our parents, but when they age, it becomes our turn to support them. It’s always good to set clear boundaries and manage expectations. And it’s okay to ask for help. I can’t imagine how challenging it was to be working overtime helping both T with virtual schooling and your Ma with all her appointments. It’s all about celebrating the milestones in life, even the small things.

    1. Thanks Linda. It really is kind of funny, eh? No doubt we’ll be in similar situations when we get into our twilight years! A reminder to celebrate and enjoy every moment while we are able to. 🙂

  4. “But I am aware there may be a future where the training wheels don’t completely come off.” I love the training wheel analogy both with T and your Mom. It’s so true! Beautiful, inspiring post!

  5. I do like your concept there of ‘training wheels’. Y’know … I think that to some degree we all need some form of training wheels throughout our life. When we shed one set, it isn’t long before we need another. T will likely shed his training wheels for his bike soon, but other challenges lie ahead where he will need other forms of assistance. We all do! You’ve got such a great attitude … T is a lucky young man.

    1. Thank you, Jill. I don’t always feel fully positive or peppy, but as you know, I do agree that attitude is everything and makes a difference in how we face a challenge. Hope you’re enjoying your weekend too!

      1. Oh heck, none of us can feel positive and peppy all the time! If you did, I’d have to ask what you’d been smoking! 🤣 It’s been a nice weekend, albeit hotter than I’d like. But, I’m a creature of routine and while I enjoy my weekends (I’m retired, so they’re not the huge break for me that they are for working people), I’m always happy to get back to Monday and back in the routine that keeps me grounded. Sort of.

  6. I can certainly appreciate this perspective of “training wheels”. It made me think when you spoke of how they return during our elder years. This is beautifully expressed Ab and your attitude regarding T’s future is very inspirational.

    1. Thank you, Tammy. It’s so interesting watching life from two angles at the same time, my growing son and my aging mom. It really does seem like mirror images of each other indeed. And you know me by now, gotta keep the positive attitude! 😊😆 Enjoy your weekend!

    1. Thank you, Rebecca. I especially appreciate knowing that you read these from a unique perspective that can relate closely to T. 😊

  7. Ending a very deep and meaningful post with a laugh – nice, Ab! What a great metaphor for life – training wheels. And yes, how they come back is so interesting too. You are so right, we just have to enjoy each milestone.

    Beautiful post – love the kayaking pictures!

    1. Thank you, Wynne! Life is just so full of metaphors and as you recently noted yourself – the quiet teachers. 😊

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