My eight-year-old daughter just learned to ride a bike.
For Amelia, this event was more than a childhood milestone. It was significant—a sign of health and wellness and perseverance (and a testament to my learning to ask for help).
Amelia is not a typical kid. She has this nagging, unofficially-diagnosed but we see a neurologist regularly disorder. They think she might have had an episode of pediatric multiple sclerosis when she was four. But she’s never relapsed. This makes her way too interesting to neurologists.
But it also left her with a right side that’s weaker than her left. We all have a dominant side, but Amelia’s left is her dictator. Balance is hard. Which means bike riding has been next to impossible. She’s been discouraged. More so than me when I look at Amazon book sales stats.
On the day we tried to teach her, the baby brother (he’s six) learned in less than 10 minutes. He literally rode circles around her.
Reminded me of how I released my debut novel and thought I was doing well until I saw another baby author release hers and get all the attention.
Two days after the teaching attempt, I took her to our standing physical therapy appointment with the therapist who’s seen her since her diagnosis in 2015. This woman is my security blanket for Amelia. She validates my fears and also reaffirms Amelia’s successes. We’re all thrilled our girl is considered “functional” but whenever our therapist can help make ordinary things—like bike riding—happen, she does.
And she did. One hour at physical therapy and Amelia got it. There was a lot of starting and stopping. Even more encouragement and laughter. By the end of our session, she could ride circles too.
But only to the left.
Because her right side is so weak, she can’t turn that direction. So usually she rides a few yards straight and then tips into a counter-clockwise circle she can’t escape unless she comes to a full stop.
And I see myself in every loop she makes. Spinning my wheels, trying to go the other way, struggling to remain upright, coming to a stop so I can start all over.
The difference is, I’m tempted to quit this crazy writing circle sometimes. This spinning I’ve gotten into sometimes feels counterproductive to what I really want to do. But there’s a big difference between quitting—laying down the bike or the pen and not taking it up again—and stopping.
Amelia stops, straightens herself out, and tries again.
That, friends, is what I need to do. Maybe you too? Stop the spin that feels out of control, straighten yourself out, take a deep breath, and push off on those pedals again.
Because there’s no doubt, with perseverance, we’re both eventually going to figure out how to turn the other way.
I’d love to know how I can pray or advise you in your writing journey. Drop a comment here on the blog or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blessings and Merry Christmas!
Lindsey P. Brackett writes southern fiction and mentors writers. Her debut novel, Still Waters, was an INSPY finalist and named 2018 Selah Book of the Year.