Majority of the weeks this summer have been spent riding bicycles with my children to get them to swimming lessons, day camps and numerous other adventures that have taken us some distance from the safety and comfort of home. Nothing abnormal for our family, really. Aside from keeping incredibly active, all the riding has also meant a number of falls, scrapes and cuts, especially for the youngest in our family. Not a week has gone by that Etienne, and, to a lesser extent, Coralie, have taken a wrong turn, hit a bump, or just lost a fight with gravity while sat on their bicycle, resulting in our son's legs often looking more bandage than skin. There are always a few tears, coupled with a soothing voice from me to try to get them to breathe calmly.
I need them to move past it quickly, not because falls happen, but because they have no choice but to get back on their bike and keep going. Most of our trips take us on routes away from public transit, and certainly not walking distance to our house. So their only option for getting to our destination is to get back on their bicycle. This summer, we have generally been on a tight schedule, making stopping to take ten to fifteen minutes for them to calm down or for the bleeding to subside just wasn't an option, because then they would be late.
As a result, much of this summer, and in fact our entire experience riding as a family has become a lesson in picking yourself up again. In the moment, the focus is simply about continuing our journey without delay, but afterwards, when I have a moment to reflect, it becomes clear that we are teaching our children to be resilient and not let small mishaps overshadow their experiences. At present, this means that cuts and bruises cannot be a reason to give up, because life doesn't stop and sometimes plans can't be changed simply because of a tumble. As they get older, and life becomes more complex, these lessons will translate into something bigger.
This morning, as I reflected on this piece and how my message would come together, something dawned on me. In the last weeks, a few physically and emotional stumbles came my way. From my ankle sprain, to a sudden and unexpected change in my employment status, and the impending delay of the start of the school year due to BC's province-wide teacher strike, there have been enough reasons for me to crawl under the covers and hide away from the world. If my children and their resilience has taught me anything, it's that the discomfort will pass, and by moving on, I can focus on the positive, and be stronger for it. As the shadows of a summer of cuts and bruises begins fade for my children, so too will their fears and doubts, leaving them more prepared for any curveballs their future holds.