Rob and I went mountain biking at Tanglewood yesterday.  It’s been a year since I’ve been on
it.  I didn’t think it had been
that long, but my Muddy Buddy number was still tied to the stem so I guess it’s
been a while.  As usual, it took some
time to loosen up.  I love to ride,
and from a strength perspective, I’m in good shape, but my bike handling skills
are dismal at best, and I have a tendency, particularly when I haven’t ridden
in a while, to grip the handlebars too tightly and tense my upper body.  Logically, I know that this is the
worst possible way to ride, but it always takes a while to loosen into it.  I’m sure it’s just part of my
hard-wiring.  As I’ve said before,
this “letting go” concept is a continuous work in progress for me.

However, I do feel like I’ve been doing a much better job
with that part of my life recently. 
Like most things, I think it’s hard to gain a clear perspective on
what’s going on when you are in the midst of something; however, after you
remove yourself from the situation, things become so much clearer.  This time last year, I was harried and
hurried and feeling like I was doing a shoddy job as a mom.  I had an unusually loaded class
schedule, I was constantly running back and forth to classes, practices, rehearsals
and other volunteer events, and Isaac was experiencing the terrible twos in
grandiose style.  I felt like I was
just barely hanging on; I was white-knuckling it through life.

Skip forward one year, and things have improved
dramatically.  Through a few
personal decisions and some things beyond my control, my daily schedule has
lightened considerably.  Isaac has
also moved into a better phase of his childhood, and I can almost feel the
muscles in my neck beginning to relax. 

The other day, as Isaac and I raked up piles of leaves and
then rode scooters through them, I realized that I am so much happier when I
allow myself time to live, and my kids, consequently, are happier too.  From time to time, I feel guilty about
the fact that I don’t have them involved in every sport or extra-curricular
activity available.  After all, I
don’t want them to miss out on valuable life experiences.  But I also think that digging a hole to
China in the backyard and building fairy houses in the garden are valuable as well,
and having a mom who has the time and the energy to do it with them is even
more important than that. 

Even though I was initially distressed by the loss of class
hours this semester, I think I’m really grateful now.  I realized the other day that this new free time has created
space in my day that I can devote to Isaac, much in the same way that I
dedicated my time to Harper Lee when she was his age.  I have enjoyed this added time with him, and I’m glad that
things worked out as they did.  It
wasn’t what I had planned, and my first response was to tighten up and lie
awake at night worrying about what may or may not happen, but once I relaxed
into my new schedule a little bit, I realized how fun the ride could be. 

Now, instead of gripping the handles and mashing on the
pedals in a gear that is really too hard, I’ve changed gears and loosened my
grip, and it’s amazing how my sense of balance has been restored because of
it.  Now, instead of crashing into
trees and falling off in the creek, I can feel the breeze, smell the leaves and
enjoy the thrill of the ups and downs and the feel of cold mud splashing my
legs.  When I ride like this, I can
totally see the appeal.