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words of encouragement from the past…

I spent this past weekend in Cincy at my mom (and tom)’s home. I love going there because I really do feel closer to her, as I’m surrounded by some of her things, and many memories of time spent there with her. This weekend I stumbled upon a baby book on my bookshelf, where she had kept some records and memories of me from birth up until I was 6 or 7.

It really was great to read the many happy moments her and I shared together during those times that I don’t really remember. I was not surprised to read that my first word was Mom (followed by juice, and cheese..both of which I still love today). I loved to see that I was up and fully walking by 11 months (in fact there was a section in the baby book with a check list of progress for an 11 month old, and one item on the list was “able to stand with help of others.” My mom crossed that off and wrote “daniel is up and walking constantly on his own”), and that my favorite first reading material was Astronomy magazines (yeah I’m a dork, so sue me). But my favorite entry by far was my mom’s recanting of the story on how I learned to ride a bike. She wrote (rough paraphrase here):

March of 1986 (I was 5) Daniel wanted a bike for his birthday (in June). We took him to Johnny’s toys and picked out a bike with training wheels. He demanded that the training wheels be taken off, and wouldn’t leave the store until this was done. Upon returning home, Daniel tried to ride the bike in the front yard, and was incredibly mad at his mom and dad for not telling him how to balance (hey I’m impatient). However the next day, with the support, patience and guidance (these are kind words, my sister really pushed me) of his sister, he had it down and was riding on his own. He is the first of all of his friends to ride without training wheels, and I’m impressed by Daniel’s determination. He seems to be capable of doing anything he puts his mind to.

I know this is a somewhat cliched saying, but really it sure did feel good to see. My mom has told me this many times over the years, but none of them rang more true than what I read yesterday. It’s incredibly empowering, and also incredibly accurate…for everyone. Learning to balance and ride a bike sounds like a simple task today, but then it was a monumental one…But I wanted it so bad, I learned it very quickly. The challenges I face today, are far easier to overcome than that. So it’s incredibly comforting to realize the only thing holding me back is me. If I put my mind to it, I can do it.

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