“I can’t do it,” Maddie wailed through her tears.
I gasped dramatically. “What did you say?” I asked in mock disbelief. “You are NOT allowed to say those words in this house!”
Maddie stopped crying and stared at me. “What words?” she asked.
“I can’t. It’s okay to say I feel scared or I’m still learning or I can’t do it YET, but we don’t say I can’t.”
The tears started falling again. “I can’t do it yet,” Maddie wailed.
“Come on, let’s go,” I said, grabbing her hand. “Get your helmet.”
Together we walked towards the pink bike resting on the garage floor now that it had been stripped of its training wheels. We approached the bike, and I knelt down on one knee. “Maddie, you are the bravest kid I know. You can do this.”
“Don’t let go, Mommy,” she sniffled. “Please don’t let go.”
“I pinky promise I won’t let go.”
We locked pinkies, and I pulled her in for a hug.
“I feel scared, Mommy,” she sobbed.
We locked eyes. Maddie took a deep breath and got on the bike. As promised, I didn’t let go.