Cycling Lessons – Learning to Let Go

 

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This is your present cycle, a yellow Hercules. Unfortunately, I have lost the picture of your first BSA pink-and-silver cycle.

For a long time, I have wanted to write about how I taught you cycling. I was no expert. I did not know how to ride a cycle. I had never ridden a cycle in my life. So I had to rely heavily on web articles and YouTube videos.

 

Your first cycle was a pink and silver BSA with training wheels. We spent several long hours riding it on our terrace, you and I. You were a little boy of five and you refused to ride it unless I held the saddle or the handlebars. Sometimes, I held you under your armpits so that you could learn the fine art of balancing on your own.

It gave me one hell of a backache, but I was determined that you should learn cycling. When I removed the training wheels and told you that you should try riding without them, you rebelled.  And before we could argue about it any further, the monsoons set in. Your little pink and silver BSA lay forlorn and forgotten in a corner of our garden as long as the rains lasted.

When drier days finally rolled in, I rescued the cycle and got it serviced. Your riding lessons started in earnest again, but this time, you were clearly not in the mood.

“I want training wheels,” you whined.

“No, you must learn to balance without training wheels,” I insisted firmly.

“Then I want you to hold the saddle while I pedal,” you replied.

“Just think,” I tried to convince you. “You can’t go fast if I keep holding you. Don’t you want to cycle fast? Don’t you want to cycle long distances?”

“I want to become a pilot,” you said stubbornly. “You don’t need to ride cycles to become a pilot.”

“Oh yes, you do,” I said firmly. “If you can’t ride a simple cycle, how will you fly a plane? A plane goes much faster.”

You carefully weighed the pros and cons and finally decided to give it a try. But you still insisted that I either hold you under your armpits or grip the saddle of your cycle. Since I was tired of the terrace, I decided to take you to Kadri Park Mangaluru for your riding lessons.

 

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A photo of the new gate of Kadri Park Mangaluru. Absolutely cycle proof.

 

I will never forget those precious moments when I finally let go of the saddle and let you ride on your own. Blissfully unaware that I had let go, you rode on and on. I was so delighted to see you riding on your own that I clapped hard and cheered. And that’s when you realized that you had actually learned how to ride a cycle. I will never forget the look on your face that wonderful day

The park authorities booted us out soon after, but I did not mind because the purpose was served. Apparently, Kadri Park Mangaluru is meant exclusively for walkers, joggers, and runners, not cyclists.

It was the letting go that did the trick. It was not at all easy for me to let go. After all, I did not want my precious baby to fall down and hurt himself.

But my precious pet, as your parent, I have to let go of you. I have to let you fall and get hurt. I have to harden my heart because you will learn all the essential skills of life only if I let go of you, the same way you learned cycling when I let go.

Letting go of you so that you could make your own decisions and live life on your own terms was the toughest parenting lesson I had to learn. It took me a long time to understand that you are born free.

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The Perfect Egg

img_0450I am not the perfect mother. So far, I have never been able to cook the perfect egg for you. In fact, we have had countless egg-related fights.

Today, wonder of wonders, I finally succeeded in cooking the perfect egg. Save the date—21 January, 2017. I actually fried an egg and you ate it without complaining. So I decided to celebrate it by creating a blog post.

 

Just look at all those egg fights we have had over the years.

*****

Me: Shall I boil an egg for you?

You: No!

Me: Why not? What’s wrong with eggs? We all eat eggs here. Why shouldn’t you?

You: You eat if you want. I won’t!

Me: Seriously, you should have got a Hitler mother. I am too mild for you.

*****

You (walking into the kitchen): What are you doing?

Me: It’s actually none of your business.

You: Are you frying an egg?

Me (sighing): Yes

You: How are you going to crack it open?

Me: The way I usually do. Now get out of my way!

You: Don’t break it open with a knife like that. Make a small hole at the narrower end.

Me: I wish you would leave me alone when I am cooking.

You (raising your voice): NO! Don’t use the knife. Just make a small hole. I want the whole egg shell with just a small hole in it. I want to make a happy face.

Me (cursing myself for teaching you to make happy faces with egg shells): Here is your egg shell, you little brat! Now get out of the kitchen.

You (leaving the kitchen): And I don’t want fried eggs for breakfast today.

*****

You: What is this?

Me: What does it look like to you? Don’t they teach you anything in school?

You: I don’t want the yolk. I will eat only the white.hatching-chick-illustration

Me: What’s your problem, baby? What has the yolk done to you?

You: There is a baby in the egg yolk and I don’t want to hurt it by eating it.

Me (surprised witless): WHAT? A baby in the egg yolk?! Who told you that?

You: I know.

Me (feeling helpless): So why is there no baby in the white?

You: It’s only in the yolk. That’s why I am not eating it.

*****

You: What are you doing?

Me: I am frying eggs.

You: I won’t eat it. I wanted it poached.

*****

You: What are you doing?

Me: I am poaching eggs.

You: I won’t eat it. I wanted it fried.

*****

You: What are you doing?

Me: I am boiling eggs.

You: You are boiling eggs? But that’s so boring! I like only fried eggs and poached eggs.

*****

You: Are you frying the egg?

Me: Yes.

You: See that you don’t put the yolk in it.

Me (losing my temper): What do you mean you don’t want me to put the yolk in it? Why don’t you go and tell the chickens all over the world to lay eggs without yolks? Listen, I cannot remove the yolk. So you might as well shut up and eat whatever is put on your plate.

You: If you put the yolk in it, I won’t eat it.

Me: Don’t!

You: Ok then, don’t fry any egg for me!

*****

Me: Here is your fried egg! I have carefully removed the yolk from it and fried only the white. So shut up and eat it.

You: But this part of it looks yellow.

Me: (speechless)

You: I will give this yellow looking part to Nanna and eat only the white.

*****

You: Mamma, I want fried eggs.

Me: I have decided not to cook eggs anymore.

You: But why? I want fried eggs.

Me: Listen, you can have fried eggs provided you eat whatever I put on your plate. And don’t stand here when I am frying it.

You (staying right there): Mamma, be very careful while flipping it over. I don’t want the yolk to break and spread all over the white.

Me: Get out of my way! I can’t guarantee all that. So you will eat the yolk today?

You: Yes, but don’t break it. And it should be fried a little bit on the outside and raw on the inside.

*****

Me: Why aren’t you eating your egg?

You: It is all fried. I don’t like all fried eggs. I like the yolk to be just a little raw.

*****

January 21, 2017 (The Great Day)

You: What are you doing?

Me: I am frying an egg.

You: For whom?

Me: It’s for you. And you are shutting up and eating it.

You: Mamma, don’t break the yolk.

My hands shook slightly when I broke the egg on the hot pan. Fortunately, the yolk did not break. Since I am an atheist, I could not thank god. But I sure thanked my lucky stars.

You: Now Mamma, don’t flip it at all. Don’t flip it!

I carefully placed the half-fried egg, sunny side up on a plate and handed it to you. Peace reigned over the house for nearly five minutes as you ate your breakfast. And you actually ate it with your mouth shut. You ate the yolk as well as the white. I mean, you really ate the yolk as well as the white.

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I did not even dare to speak for fear of breaking the magic in the moment.