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Watching People Watch My Girl

One Sunday a while ago we took the kids to the park with a couple of drinks, their helmets, bikes and my daughter’s scooter. The weather was sunny but cool and it was the perfect Atlanta day.

My girl has not been on her bike for a very long time. More than a year, maybe two. She’s not so much a fan of bike riding and my husband is not so much a fan of helping her learn. He’s been trying for years but she doesn’t trust the bike, her body or her dad. She reluctantly said with a sigh and an eye roll, “FINE, just bring it then!”

When we got to the park she rode her scooter. She is a slow scooter rider, still again with the not trusting that ground being so friendly if you fall on it and she would know. She spent the first 6 years of her life falling. The first three of those her reflexes hadn’t yet caught up with her so her relationship with the ground is questionable at best.

There were many younger kids zooming past her on big wheels and trikes and bikes and she was largely unfazed. It was very noticeable that other kids and adults noticed her. Luckily on this trip no one said anything like “How old are you, girl?” or “Why do you still have training wheels?” The vision disorders she has greatly impact her balance, coordination and literally how she sees the world. Her eyes rotate slowly right to left and don’t get to where she’s looking until it’s too late to focus on where she’s looking. The newer diagnosed condition means her eyes to tilt quickly, randomly and at different times. So basically, since she’s been born she’s seen the world with little random movements (both eyes tilt at different times) all day, every day, and she can’t turn her head and focus on what she wants to at any given time.

Her dad made a comment to me…something about wondering where he went wrong because the kids have such low confidence. It really irritated me. He should know that the kids have a lot of factors that play into their skill level and in turn their confidence. I am fairly certain he was here the entire time (insert sarcasm).

As parents of the same kids we have vastly different approaches and reactions to their experience. While I have always known this intellectually it never occurred to me that my husband would take her not being able to ride a bike so personally. I just don’t want her teased. I couldn’t care less about what other people think. But he, he truly believes that he could/should have done something different to change the outcome.

So as people were watching my girl and wondering, I was watching my husband watch my girl. I was wondering when he’ll let go of the pain.


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