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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bye Bye

Toddlers love to show off their newly-learned knowledge, and as they learn to communicate, parents can use this to their advantage.  This is a trick that I'm sure will not last for long, but, right now, it's one of the easiest ways to get my toddlers to mentally let go of something.  I tell them to tell it "bye bye."

Bicycles are entrancing to my babies, right now, and last week my husband and I took them to our town center where everyone had decided to ride their bike that day.  Gainesville is set up to accommodate this with bicycle racks installed every few feet.  Needless to say, the walk around town was long, but we had nowhere to be.  (That's another important part to going out with a toddler.  Make sure you have nowhere to be.)

Every few feet, we stopped.  The babies touched each bicycle.

"Bike!  Bike! Up! Up! Bike!"

But they can't ride a bicycle; they're too small, not to mention these were all other people's property.

"Yes, that's a great bike!  What color is it?"

"... Blue!"

"Yes!  A blue bike!  Say bye bye, bike."

"Bye bye.  Bye bye bike."

And no matter which way we turned, to their delight, there was always another bike around the corner, so they were always willing to say goodbye to the last one.  When we finally decided to go home, they were, of course, disappointed that there would be no more bikes.  They cried, but we hugged, and I explained to them best I could that the bikes would not be gone forever.  They would see a new bike tomorrow, or the next day, maybe in our apartment complex, maybe out on the street.  They got lots of hugs and accepted the love in place of the object, and we went home.

Sometimes it's hard to say goodbye to something you love, something you've worked hard on, something you committed to.  We often try to cling to what remains, even if the current object bears no resemblence to that which it once was, or that which it was supposed to be.  We feel that we can't just give up, that nothing else will ever come our way.

We're wrong.  No matter how old you get, you'll never be able to see the next bike around the corner.  You just have to trust that it will be there and let go of the old bike because it was never really yours to begin with.  And when you get around that corner, if there is no bicycle waiting for you, take a good look around.  I bet there's someone right there waiting to give you a hug and tell you it will be okay.

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