As Meridian Avenue winds from south to north past Valley View, past our cherryblossom tree in full bloom, and past the "S" curve approaching the high school, a brown wall glides up the left side of the road. The road elevates up towards the high school ball fields and the wall elevates right along side of it like a long and thin rail of stairs.
It must be the perfect, most inviting wall, that a kid has ever seen. There's something about walls. Let's face it. They're like balance beams that insists on being walked by children.
So as my 5 year old daughter and I took the walk along Meridian Avenue, that wall was calling her name. "Mom always lets me walk on the wall," she said. So I hoisted her up on the brown cement wall and she took her first steps. The wall stood about five feet high. With Andreya on the wall she stood taller than me as we continued the winding walk along Meridian.
As we walked, the wall got higher. I got more nervous. She strolled more confidently. I stood there like a gymnastics spotter. She told me to let go of her.
I tried not to.
She told me she could do it alone.
I wasn't sure she could.
She swatted my arms away. I kept my arms out just in case. She kept walking. I kept spotting. "Slow down," I said. "Watch out for the broken bricks," I said. "Daddddd," she said in the way that only an annoyed 5 year old could say it.
"Slow downnn," I yelled again. "Dadddddddddd I can do it," she yelled back. The wall got slightly higher and slightly higher and I kept spotting her to prevent certain tragedy and she just kept steamrolling along with a self-confidence and stride that couldn't be broken. I was nervous the whole time and there finally came a point along the wall where I realized the situation was beyond my control. If she was going to fall she was going to fall and there was nothing I was going to be able to do to stop it, except be there to pick her back up and make sure she was OK.
In the end, she made it all the way along that wall without falling and without my help. And I was relieved she made it even if she didn't need me along the way.
I recognize there's always going to be another wall down the road. And as much as I'll try to spot my kids and keep them from falling throughout life, I know they'll be walking the path that they have chosen to walk. I don't know if they'll need me, but I'll always be there to pick them back up they fall.