This past week, as we’ve vacationed in Sunriver, I’ve had several opportunities to smile and reflect on our ever-changing status as parents. My runs are a great opportunity to watch other parents in action. The slow bicycle-crawl with children riding with training wheels or just learning to ride “two-wheeler”. The admonitions on the bike path to “Stay to your right.” I smile and run on, aware that, for me, those days are past. Now I’m more concerned with encouraging the kids to leave the comfort of the couch and just get out on their bikes.
Friday, in the last mile of my long run, I came to the killer hill near our house. I had already decided that I’d be walking, not running, up the hill, when I spotted a mom and a little boy up ahead. The little guy was riding a bike with training wheels and he was pedaling pretty hard trying to get started up the hill. As I approached, I overheard Mom ask him, “Do you want to walk your bike up the hill?” I came up behind them and said, “Would you mind if I gave him a little help?” and indicated that I would hold on to the back of his bicycle seat and push him up. Mom agreed and thanked me profusely. As we made our way up the hill (I was actually going faster than I would have had I walked – between his pedaling and my pushing, we were making good time) with Mom continuing to thank me, I told her that I have a lot of kids and I’ve pushed all of them up that hill over the years. I went on to say that now they’re older and no longer need me to help them get to the top, so it was fun to be able to help her little guy.
As I was relaying this story to my husband he laughed and said, “They may not need you to push their bicycle up the hill, but they still need you.” I realized that, while our children no longer need me to push their bikes up a geological hill, there are plenty of figurative hills that they still need help ascending.
There is a saying in Korea, “Over the mountains, there are mountains”. While this can be interpreted negatively, it can also say that there are achievements after achievements out there – lots of opportunities to strive, succeed and enjoy the view from the top, before trying again. For my family, I will always be available, whenever they need me, to give them a little push along the way.