On finding balance

It's a word that often gets a bad rap, and it means different things to different people.

According to Merriam-Webster, two (of many) definitions of balance:
 stability produced by even distribution of weight on each side of the vertical axis.
 mental and emotional steadiness 
I know when the precarious balance in my life goes awry. Take last week - work was long and tiring, and my time at home with Ryan and the kids was hurried and limited. For me, balance is not about having equal time at work/home, but an amount of both that leaves me feeling fulfilled and happy (and usually pretty tired).

I've come to accept that there will be days, weeks, months even, when my life is out of balance. The key is to recognize it and get back to a happier and healthier equilibrium sooner than later. One sign that my life is out of balance is when I fail to write on this blog.

Last week I threw together one blog post of pictures, not even bothering to include descriptions of the pictures. Writing (in journals prior to this blog) helps me appreciate and recognize the happy moments, the milestones, and the struggles that make my life so full, so worth living. The writing process is the transition point between the experience itself and my memory of it. It seems counter intuitive, but writing about my life keeps me in the moment.

Charlie gave me the ultimate lesson in balance this weekend by learning to ride a 'big bike' for the first time.

We got the bike from his cousins on Thursday and didn't have a chance to get it out of the garage until Saturday. He was a little nervous about it, and I held lightly onto his shoulders while he pedaled around our short driveway for 2 minutes tops. We got the bike out again on Sunday afternoon and he simply hopped on and took off. No training wheels. No fear.

Ryan and I imagined taking him to the church parking lot behind our house and working with him for a few hours, days. You know, the typical teach-your-child-how-to-ride-a-bike parenting milestone, complete with scrapes and tears. Not so. He didn't need any help, he already knew what to do.

We really shouldn't have been surprised. He has been riding a two-wheel bike for two years and cruising all over Brookside and the Crossroads. Thanks to his little orange bike, Charlie had figured out how to balance - the most challenging aspect of riding a bicycle -  a long time ago.

We had our big parenting moment of teaching Charlie to ride a bike two years ago, though we didn't realize it at the time (here and here). This weekend, instead of experiencing a parenting milestone, we received a parenting lesson - our children are learning life skills every day that go completely unnoticed by us.

And I learned from Charlie this weekend that if you aren't afraid, you can easily find your balance.


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