Take off the Training Wheels

I am taking a break from my usual gig today to share a little bit of what has been in my thoughts. I hope you’ll stick around to read it. Thank you for letting me veer off of the normal DIY & decorating path to speak from the heart.


My son has had many question lately. “Why did Uncle Tim go to heaven? I bet the first person he hung out with in heaven was great grandpa. Are there things for kids to play with in heaven? If I go to heaven who will tell me how to do things? Oh, wait. God will tell me what to do. When will Grammy and Papa go to heaven? I don’t want them to go.” Then there is my six year old daughter who chimes in with, “When the majority of our family gets to heaven, Grady,  it will be a big party, right mom?” {her words} My husband and I recall questions that we had at that age. . . . in fact the same questions we had back then are still some of the questions we grapple with today. We differ in what we question, but that eagerness to find answers is the same.

“Can I take my training wheels off?” Grady asked as my husband and I sat down on our front porch. Both exhausted from the day, we sort of looked at each other and without saying a word thought, “I am so not in the mood for this.”  But his big blue eyes and smile have some serious negotiating power. “Ok, daddy? We can take them off, right? Make sure you get the ranch from your tool box.” {not sure we ever want him to say wrench instead of ranch. It kills us every time}.

“Go straight, no turn.  Don’t stop. Put your foot down. Watch out for the tree.” All of this was being said in a calm, loving, encouraging way. My husband has a crazy reserve of calm to draw upon when it matters most.  I do not. Meanwhile, my son, in a very confident and clear manner was insisting, “Daddy, let go. . . daddy, let go.” Those words sting a bit when you are a parent. He let go. Grady rode away all by himself within seconds of daddy letting go. He never looked back. He found his balance. But that wasn’t enough for him. He wanted to go fast. He wanted to ride down a hill. He wanted to ride faster than his sister.

Later, I asked him if he was scared. With huge proud eyes his high pitched voice blurted out, “Yah. But it was fun. I did it mama!” I watched Grady that beautiful afternoon and thought about my own life. It’s a constant effort to strive for balance. . . and at the same time wanting to feel more. To feel challenged. To feel energized. It’s that state of unrest that inevitably leads to a certain spark. A spark that keeps us wanting to discover what might be waiting around the next corner. I haven’t figured out all of the answers to his questions.

I know that both of my kiddos will continue to challenge us every day with the questions they have about life, love, God, heaven, and what they will eat for snack every ten minutes. And that’s okay. In fact it is more than okay. They are continuously taking their training wheels off and traveling down a road where they don’t have all of the answers. Are you? Am I? I have questioned more in the last nine months of my life than I ever have in the time I have been on this Earth. Loss can force you to do that even if you are not ready.

I know one thing is for certain. Life is far too short not to take the training wheels off. I think we all hope to feel that slight wobble . . . . it lets us know that we can find balance on our own. We don’t always have to rely on others. And that feels good. And if we are truly lucky, we are brave enough to push past the balance to a place that feels challenging and adventurous. If we waiver, hit a bump in the road or crash to the ground, we hope that there are loving hands around us to help us back on our feet. And in the end, I know that there is ultimately one set of hands that will help us back up onto our bike and allow us to ride all the way home. So until then, I try to live my life without training wheels and to push myself and face the unanswered questions head on. One beautiful day at a time.


  1. says

    Great post Courtney. I'm constantly seeking motivation and inspiration from within and from others to make myself grow as a person. I definitely think getting out of your comfort zone and being uncomfortable at times is a good way to push yourself. Thanks for inspiring me today!

  2. says

    What a beautiful post. I can certainly relate and I love watching my children "take their training wheels off" each and every day. I have been pushing myself to take mine off to recently. It sure feels good!

  3. says

    after my aunt passed away (as your brother did), my mom found a copy of footprints in her home. that poem stayed on our refrigerator for the longest time. knowing that yes, we have the strength to push ourselves, and challenge ourselves, and keep on going is wonderful, but knowing that when we can't find it, there is always another pair of hands there to cary us until we are ready t try out our own legs again. thinking of you.

  4. says

    Oh my word, what a beautiful, heartfelt post. So timely in my life. Saying a prayer for strength, comfort, and faith for you right now.

  5. says

    Courtney–beautiful post. I am teary eyed a bit–and inspired. Congrats to your little boy for that accomplishment…..and that is a big one. :) And after recently really looking at my life in a similar way, I thank you. Thank you for "putting it out there" and challenging us to do the same. Prayers for you and your family.

  6. says

    Courtney, your post is awesome. So much to think about and truly live by. Your writing style is beautiful. You really inspire us to live each day to the fullest and take the plunge every so often. Thank you for the wonderful words. You make me want to out there and just "do it"! Xoxxo

  7. says

    What a sweet post. I love reading what's on your heart. It's always comforting to know that theres one set of hands that will never fail us and will always remain steadfast and faithful…even when our worlds seem to be crashing down around us. Praying for you xo

  8. says

    Courtney, I absolutely love your blog and all your decorating and dyi ideas… However, this post is by far my favorite. Brought tears to my eyes.

    I love how God uses others to remind us that our questions may never be completely answered, but that He will always find ways to reveal his comfort, love, and strength to us :)

    • says

      Couldn't have said it any better than Melinda. Courtney this is by your best post ever. I am sorry life circumstances have caused your children to even need to ask those questions. Thank you that while in your own process of sorting "it" out you still find strength to encourage others.

      Erica R

      PS: Good job Grady!!!

    • says

      Couldn't have said it any better than Melinda. Courtney this is by your best post ever. I am sorry life circumstances have caused your children to even need to ask those questions. Thank you that while in your own process of sorting "it" out you still find strength to encourage others.

      Erica R

      PS: Good job Grady!!!

  9. says

    I love this: Life is far too short not to take the training wheels off. Thinking of you lots and realizing the extra layers of what you're going through with the kids. There's something so pure about their questions and it actually makes my heart happy b/c they come from such a honest place. I know it's not easy…but it keeps you talking which is so important. Love you! XO

  10. says

    Beautiful post Courtney! I got through graduation without crying, but not this post!! LOL For all of us it starts with that first step, the letting go, no more training wheels. While a bit scary, unnerving, and sometimes sad…watching them move through the next phase in their life is so so very rewarding. And yes, I wish at times I would be more like them in my adult life…take off the training wheels, try something new, place my trust wholeheartedly in the Good Lord above. I have learned to do that more over the course of this past year…dealing with loss, children's illnesses, changing times, and becoming an empty nester will do that. I can honestly say, I and they are so very excited for what's to come.
    Congrats to Grady!! I don't think anyone ever forgets the day they first took their training wheels off and rode on their own!!

  11. says

    Absolutely loved this post. We're experiencing a lot of the same things right now with our little girl. We had to "take the training wheels off" yesterday when we chose to explain to her the squirrel wasn't actually sleeping in the road (our normal go-to answer) 😉 Congrats on your little boy's big adventure without training wheels! That's so exciting, and bitter sweet :)

  12. says

    What a beautiful post! I'm all teary right now. He never gives us more than we can handle but sometimes it sure does feel that way. There is such honesty in a child's questions. They're so blessed to have such a wonderful mother. Big hugs girlie!

  13. says

    Courtney…you bring tears to my eyes! Your post is so beautifully written. Congrats to your adorable little man, Grady!!! I love your words, your honesty and your outlook. You were right, it would be great to have coffee together someday<3

  14. says

    I didn't even know that I needed a good cry until I read this post…it was absolutely beautiful and the perfect reminder of living life to the fullest. My kiddos have been pretty darn challenging lately, and hearing this made me remember how blessed I am to have those particular challenges in my life (c: From one busy mom to another, thank you for your sweet words, Courtney!!! xoxo!

  15. says

    What a sweet and wonderful post! The words of a child are always the most reassuring, peaceful and loving words you can hear! And it also helps us adults try something we have been afraid to go after. This post came at such an important time for me, too! So thank you! :)

  16. says

    C — such a great post! I've been doing a lot of the same thinking lately, and being so fearful of a lot of 'what if's' — but at the end of the day, I'm so blessed and have so much. I, too, am trying to enjoy all the little moments and not worry so much about the future and unknowns…because it's all part of the journey. thank you for such a sweet and honest post! Oh, and my list of questions for God when I get to heaven is loooooooooooooooooooong! 😉

  17. says

    Such a sweet post Courtney and thanks for sharing your heart. So many day to day routines we get caught up in and forget to enjoy what real life is all about. So proud of Grady too! :)

  18. says

    Oh wow Courtney this is a beautiful post. So well said and clearly from the heart. I think my biggest fear has always been the unknown…but I know I've worked hard to live in the present and appreciate each and every lovely moment. Seems you have found that as well. xo

  19. says

    A beautiful, honest and heartfelt post Courtney. It brought tears to my eyes. Grady's comment about the "ranch" is priceless. I love it! Congratulations to Grady for his accomplishment of riding without his training wheels. A big day for him and for you and your hubby! I am with you….One beautiful day at a time. Each day is such a gift.

  20. says

    Wow you made me cry! But it is a good thing! Every once in a while, you need a kick in the pants to get you going. I hate getting out of my comfort zone; sometimes to the point that I almost feel a panic attack coming on. But that is better than the alternative—complacency that leads to a life without "life". May we as adults always feel that thrill that your son felt riding without the training wheels for the first time.

  21. says

    Thank you for sharing your innermost thoughts today. It is so timely, as I have also been faced with having to question more than ever. Your faith iandlove for your family, and yourself, is truly inspiring.

  22. says

    Well hello, Miss Inspiring Author! Amazing. You gave me goosebumps! I love your perspective, it's so real and true. And just what so many of us are thinking. I love that quote (I think you put it on your blog awhile ago!)- "she fell off a limb and learned that she could fly." Life is all about taking risks and doing what works for you! We could all learn from little G : )

  23. says

    Courtney, this is beautiful and exactly what I needed to hear this week. I just turned 20 and have had this huge mid-college crisis. I keep looking for commitment and reassurance in everything that I do. I look for it in my relationships, my future school plans, my future living arrangements, etc. I am so worried about this scary life ahead that I am not truly living the life that is on its way! I still have my life training wheels on. The life ahead isn't certain, but your'e right, we have one set of hands holding us up the whole way. We can't lose our way or balance when He is with us. Thank you so much for opening my eyes this morning. I am so blessed to have read this!

  24. says

    What a beautiful and heartfelt post Courtney. I agree with many of the others – this is exactly what I needed to hear today. Life is a dance. Sometimes we know the steps & the music and sometimes we do not. Congratulations to your big boy. Those memories are precious.

  25. says

    What a beautiful post, Courtney. It takes a genuine person to speak from the heart like that. You help so many on so many different levels and you may not even know you do. I love your blog, and your passion for beautiful things, but most of all love you, friend, and all the graciousness you encompass on a daily basis. xx

  26. says

    So beautifully written! Our family just lost a very dynamic and wonderful member of our family. My son ask all the time to talk to Uncle Scott -he tells me "just call Heaven, Mom!". As a grief counselor I have always been very honest with my kids about death & dying, but it's very difficult when our society really doesn't support those who are mourning a loss. So glad you support your children when they ask very candid questions. I too have been feeling similar to what you described! I find myself not so much seeking balance anymore, just harmony! Spinkle in taking my training wheels off more & life is good! Thanks again. Kim

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *