So often, the classic quote comes at the most random moment.
This afternoon, I spent some time with our boys, letting them ride their bikes up and down the sidewalk by our house. This is still a "follow-along" activity, as Jonathan is barely getting started at riding, and Benjamin still needs a little help now and then.
We were following our usual route, past the next-door neighbors' house, over the drainage ditch (yes, a glorious view) and on to the driveway of the next house, where we turn around and head back home for another lap.
Just as we made the turn in the usual driveway, I took hold of Benjamin's handlebar to guide him around. Without hesitation, he made clear he had it all under control:
"Daddy, you just have to let go now."
I had to let that one sink in for just a second.
How deep does that statement go in your mind?
Talk about flash-forwards. Coming back up that sidewalk, I saw visions of everything from the first day of Kindergarten to high school graduation, relationships I may or may not approve of, and life choices that will be entirely our son's to make.
Lots of moments ahead when I will have little choice but to let go.
But that's only part of the story. The fact is, the only reason Benjamin was able to tell me to let go, was the fact that I had held on for as long as I had. Today wasn't his first bike ride. I've taken hold of the handlebar many times before. And, it probably won't be the last time he ends up needing my help. But his confidence has grown to the point that he believes he can handle it on his own.
And the safety of my grip on the handlebar was needed for a time.
Just not forever.
*The wisdom to know when to let go.
*The courage to let go when you know you should.
*And, the commitment to hold on long enough to make your grip obsolete.
All this wrapped up in the confident statement of a 4 year-old.