One day last week my across the street neighbor's son learned how to ride his bike without training wheels. I played witness to this momentous occasion, albeit from the safety of my own living room.
The little guy was so excited. I was impressed by his fearlessness and commitment to figuring it out. Even when he fell, he'd pop right back up, dust himself off, and get right back on the bike. It started with his dad running along side him, pushing, and helping him balance, and eventually the little guy doing it on his own. At first he was slow and wobbly, threatening to fall over at any second, and then faster and more confidently peddling up and down the sidewalk.
His dad beamed with pride. That was HIS son who was rocking riding the bike without training wheels. He was enjoying every single minute of teaching his son how to ride his bike and being there to run alongside him and cheer him on.
His mom was wrought with anxiety. You could tell it was taking everything in her power to not run and scoop him up off of the ground to kiss his boo boos every time he wrecked. Instead she stood there with a smile on her face, shouting encouraging words and giving high fives when he finally did it.
It was a happy/sad thing to witness. It was so cool to watch the little guy figure out how to ride his bike. But I can't help but think that this little guy is the right age to be one of our children, and that makes me a little sad. The scene that played out in front of me is a snippet of how I imagined that my life would play out. The reality is that my life is much different.
I sat down on my living room floor with tears silently rolling down my cheeks. The silent tears morphed into the kind of sobs that make your whole body shake. By the time it was over I was exhausted and my emotions were raw in a way they haven't been for quite some time.
I don't know what name to give whatever this was. I wasn't jealous. It wasn't longing. I didn't want to trade places with them. I wasn't hurt by what I watched. I wasn't angry. But it definitely triggered something deep within me. I'll add it to what Sarah so eloquently referred to as "the bottomless bucket of 'what the fuck was THAT?'" and move on.
I'm convinced that time does heal and that it does get easier. But sometimes things still hit out of nowhere and make me realize that I still have a long way to go.