Timing is everything. It is true for sports, for playing the stock market, for purchasing a home, for making any major decision in life.
Split seconds can mean the difference between success and failure. Let's look at the recent Olympics in China, where some contests were won by mere hundredths of a second. Then think about a Major League Baseball game in which an outfielder misses catching a game-winning out by a nanosecond.
Athletes will relive those moments over and over again, wondering the proverbial question: What if? How many of us also have had those "what-if" questions plague us in life?
Heather Goodwin Henline
Sometimes, as parents, we play the What If game. The only reason we do so is that we want the best for our children. I know I'm guilty of dreaming big for my two sons, Johnny, 9, and Bobby, 6. I always question whether I am doing enough as a mother to ensure their success in life. I want them to thrive on spiritual, physical, intellectual and creative levels.
The boys are at different ages and stages, so I'm always wondering when to hold on and when to let go. Johnny recently went on his second sleepover at the home of his neighborhood friends. They spent the night in a tent outside, and I watched as he seemed to grow up before my eyes.
"Mom, stop fussing over me," he said as I?packed his bag, making sure he had enough warm clothes in case the night turned chilly.
"I'm fine. I'll be fine. Just let me go," he said as he tried to rush out the door.
So, I did the only thing I?could. I kissed his cheek, gave him my husband's cell phone to call home if he needed or wanted to and I let him go.
Later, I filled a large basket with a bunch of different treats, snack foods and bottles of root beer. Every campout needs, goodies, right?
My husband said I?had packed enough munchies for a dozen kids rather than just three - Johnny and his two friends - but I?felt comforted by preparing that basket for the boys. I still felt useful and needed as a mom.
Though Johnny still has a long way to go before he reaches adulthood, I?find that he needs me in different ways as he gets older. Gone are the nights when I?sang him to sleep or read him stories.
Now, I count down the days to when his little brother no longer will want that part of his bedtime routine. I've spent almost the past decade making up lullabies, telling stories and patting little backs to sleep. I don't know what I'll do when Bobby someday tells me, "Mom, stop fussing over me ... just let me go."
I know it will come. Part of me faces it with dread. (OK, 99.9 percent of me does.) But there is that other part that knows it means I?have done well as a mother, and I?have prepared the boys for the outside world.
I want them to grow into strong, confident young men who can take care of themselves. That's what good moms are supposed to do.
And so, it was with that in mind that I watched Bobby earlier this week take off on his bike, the last of his training wheels removed. My husband had taken them off, one at a time.
Bobby suddenly was ready to go solo, he said. He was ready for the second, and last, training wheel to go by the wayside. My husband, Lance, got out his tools and unscrewed the training wheel. They called me outside just as Bobby was getting ready to take off.
My first instinct was to reach out and grab the bike, to run along with Bobby on his inaugural ride. I didn't want to see him fall and get hurt. Without me having to say a word, my husband reassured me that Bobby could do it.
"Look at him go," Lance said.
And so I stood on the front path leading up to our porch and watched in amazement. My little man took off like lightening. He peddled for all he was worth, his little legs - miniature versions of his daddy's - pumping feverishly.
Before, I could blink, Bobby was down our driveway and doing a circle in the road.
"Mommy, did you see me?" he called, a smile stretching from ear to cute, little ear.
"I sure did," I told him. "I watched you go. What a great job," I?said as my eyes began to glisten.
I turned around and savored the moment. For Bobby, he always will remember the day he rode his bike without training wheels. For me, I always will remember the day, when in a mere instant, I decided to let him try it without holding on.
Like I said, timing is everything.
Heather Goodwin Henline is managing editor of The Sentinel. She may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.