It was a warm weekend day in June, 1978. I was 8 years old and my dad had just taught me to ride a bike without the training wheels. My confidence was at it’s height as I graduated to my big girl bike and dreamt of all the wonderful places I would go on my bike that summer. After supper that day my best friend Kimmy came over and rang the bell. When I answered the door she asked if I wanted to come out and play with her. I said “No”. I told her that I had learned how to ride a two wheeler and that I wasn’t going to be her friend anymore until she learned as well.
I looked at her disappointed face through the screen door and realized two things: 1. her dad hadn’t the patience to teach her as my father did and 2. I didn’t want to spend a single day of summer without my best friend at my side. So I opened the door, walked outside and said “come on…I’ll show you how”. We spent the rest of the evening with me holding the back of the seat and running beside her as she tried to balance between the training wheels. It seems like it took forever to get her to stabilize the bicycle. The sun was setting and we knew we would need to call it quits as soon as our parents yelled for us to come inside. But as the North star started to shine she finally caught on. I had taught her to ride the bike.
I wasn’t a little brat who wouldn’t play with my friend because I thought I was superior with my newly learned skills. I had learned that we were capable of growth and was confident enough to hold my friend to a higher standard. I was also generous enough to help her get there. I was encouraging and helpful and in the end we had a wonderful summer riding around on our shiny new bikes.
I think marriage should be like this…and luckily, for me and my husband, it is. We have started to hold each other to higher standards of trust, responsibility, transparency…and love. We are also helping each other arrive at our goals. My husband, in the midst of his crazy addiction, didn’t know how to be honest. He didn’t believe that he could show me his weaknesses and still be accepted. But after 50 years of living a tortured life, when he stood at my doorway and showed me that same lost look that Kimmy had I just took his hand and said “C’mon, I’ll show you how”.