i suited up to bike the park on a beautiful sunday afternoon. as i stepped onto the porch, bella asked if she could go. while i needed a hard ride only a fool would turn down such a request from an eleven year old daughter. so i waited for bella to throw on her helmet, slip into some crocks and wheel her bike to the front. we were off.
on the tail end of our eight mile ride, we ran into a stretch of fine gravel, more like silt really. when we first hit this new surface (most of our route was a paved track) bella's tires slid as she pedaled through sharp turns. i began to caution her about biking on this type of terrain but stopped myself from saying anything. i'm trying to talk less and let my kids experience more first-hand. this new troy is probably shocking to any who know me fairly well. but those who know me well should also know there is always a new troy in the works. less than ninety seconds after biting my tongue bella turned into a corner hard and both tires slid out from beneath her. i pulled up next to her and asked if she was ok. she said she was. i commented that this silty stuff can be slippery to bike tires. she said she saw that. we stood her up. her knee had a small cut. i squirted some water on it and asked if she was ok. she was. we pushed on.
that night while dining on the front porch, i recounted the moment to the family, adding that i considered cautioning bella about the peril but decided to let her find this out on her own. i was mildly prepared to get some pushback in the "thanks a lot" variety but got none. i'd say the kids, bella and alex at least, not only understood but appreciated the looser hand.
we went on to talk about how mom and i would have to sit back in the future when the kids entered new waters and how some things have to be learned and not advised, especially in the world of dating. marty and i knew we'd have to just smile and let them watch the tires slide out first hand. when they said that was kinda sucky, i agreed but also assured them we'd be here to squirt water on their scrapes when it was done.