I remember the first time my little darling took this hill. My heart was in my throat. I could barely look. Would he make it? Would he wipe out, yelling for me, all bloody?
Now every time I approach this hill at 79th and Riverside, I smile to myself. It’s really not so steep. What was I afraid of? Sure, there’s an ever-so-slight feeling that you are out of control as you descend, but just barely.
Why did I worry?
My little darling is 18 now. In the fall he will head off to college. I am feeling that same insecurity. Should I let him go? What if he falls? I have to let him go. I can’t look.
I want to yell. Be careful! You are going too fast! Hang on!
He has to take the hill. He has the need for speed. He has to feel the pull of gravity.
Incidentally, this little guy in the picture did fall after I took this pic. His father sauntered over slowly, got him back upright. He shrugged at me as if to say, Look, no bruises, no blood. As if to say, No biggie. “Do it again!”
My girls are growing up too. I could not believe how adult they looked on camera.
The amazing teacher Ellen Park gave them a coaching session for on-camera work. She told them to show their thinking in their monologues. She did not judge. She talked about finding the luminosity of You-ness. To find their own voice. Their own way. Not her way or my way. But their own way.
Find your own voice. Find your own hill. Let gravity pull you down. Enjoy the ride.
This is a lesson for me. I want to seize the wheel. I want to drive my kids’ course. I want to be sure that they don’t fall. I want to wrap them in bubble wrap and send them out into the world.
But I’m not going to hover over my little darlings.
They are going to fall. And when they do, it’s really no biggie. They’ll get up. And take the hill again. Or find another hill. Maybe even a steeper one. Oh God, NO! This is so hard for me.