This morning, my son rode his bike to his new sixth grade school for the first time. Why was I so afraid? From the rational fear of a texting-driver-in-a-hurry-that-doesn’t-see-a-bike-because-of-the-sun-glare? Because I still remember falling off my bike on the same path during my coming of age? His challenged sense of direction (challenged by both genes and technology)? The symbolism of this new era upon us: middle school!?
What continues to resonate with me is that my fear – although validated by some – is so strong. Is it because others are inherently less afraid (such as my husband, who enjoys being dropped 200 feet from an amusement park tower of doom)? Or “routine bike riders” whose fear of a car zooming past their 11-year-old is less poignant because a car does just that – zooms by? Is it because the last major school milestone of Kindergarten was during a tremulous year and letting him bike now brings back the memory of saying good-bye to your baby on that first day?
It’s been over six years since my sister’s life succumbed to her addiction, six years since our daughter’s surgeries for life-threatening congenital conditions, five years since my beloved grandmother and unconditional support died peacefully, and five years since the founder of our foundation refused to give into decline. My grandfather’s funeral was the first time I got a massage, and five years later, the stress relief is one way to combat this fear that creeps up in unexpected ways.
As is the Family Foundation. Through it, my grandfather has given me the gift of storytelling, grief processing, community when I want to isolate, and empathy through shared experiences. We bring community together through events we sponsor and support grass-root non-profits that otherwise may never reach someone with a shared story (click here for more on how we support). For me, the foundation provides a sounding board to remember why these experiences shape who I am. And why, maybe, just maybe, sharing this fear allows someone else to be kind to themselves when their boy gets on his proverbial bike and rides into the sunrise. (By Lindsey Hayes Daly, Board Member)