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Orlando Sentinel: Letting them go, one bike ride at a time

By Leslie Postal

Orlando Sentinel

Orlando Sentine Moms at WorkIf my parenting philosophy had to be classified, I’d rather it be more free range than helicopter. But philosophies can be tested when your husband says, “Can she ride her bike around the block?” and your first thought is a panicky question: “Alone?”

My daughter, age 10, had been outside in the yard with her dad. Now both were at the back door, asking about a solo bike ride. “Please?” she said.

My husband started to make her case, which I knew would include citing some article he’d read on how crazily overprotective parents have become, how things we did routinely as kids are now forbidden to our children because of out-sized and misplaced fear. I stopped him and said she could go.

I can’t say I didn’t worry.  I did, even if that was silly, even if I had to silently remind myself that she’d been riding a bike since she was five, that it was a sunny Saturday with little traffic in the neighborhood, that an around-the-block bike ride was something a 10-year-old could and should manage on their own.

Letting go is hard. I learned that with my first and find it isn’t much easier the second time around, though been-there-done-that does give me some comfort, some antidote to the worry when she is out of sight. Besides, my  older one is now learning to drive, so I know full well the  challenges of letting them go only get ratcheted up. You might as well deal.

My daughter returned safely from her first solo jaunt and immediately asked to go again. I happened to be on the driveway when she returned a second time. Her wide grin as she peddled to meet me really did say it all.

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