Daddy’s Hands Taught Me to Fall

In memory of my Daddy, who is no longer present on Earth, but still has my back with his hands

This was my first bicycle. I remember being afraid of falling over, even with the training wheels on. My daddy would put his hand on my back, just barely so I could feel it. Pretty soon, he told me that I was ready to ride without the training wheels. I was afraid, but he reminded me that his hand would be on my back to prevent me from falling. We did this every day for quite some time. My confidence increased each time I rode, him walking right behind me with his hand barely touching my back. There came a day where I was riding along, and I didn’t feel my daddy’s touch. I panicked, and my wheel turned suddenly, causing me to tip over. I heard his voice (from quite far away) holler out, “You’re okay! Dust yourself off and ride back to me!” I was mad at him. He let me fall! How could he do that? I told him I couldn’t do it because he wasn’t there to hold me up. I sat there with dirty knees and a tear stained face, feeling hopeless. He walked to where I was, picked me up off the ground, stood me on my feet, and said, “Bethany, I let go right after you started pedaling. You went all that way by yourself. You didn’t need me.” I reminded him that I wrecked, and obviously I did need him to keep me from falling. I was so angry in that moment. He proceeded to tell me that just because I fell and got some scrapes, didn’t mean that I wasn’t capable of riding my bike on my own.

He then told me something that didn’t mean a lot at the time, but as I grew older…I knew what he was trying to teach me through my bike wreck…

“You’re gonna fall over sometimes. You’re gonna run into things sometimes. That’s part of doing things by yourself. Wouldn’t you rather do that, than have me holding onto your back forever?”

It was not what I wanted to hear when I was 6 years old. I wanted him to protect me, to save me from being hurt. I now understand that he was molding me into the woman I am today…fearless, headstrong, and one who does fall down…but pops right back up, dusts off her knees, and keeps going.

My daddy spoiled me…but he also empowered me. That’s what great daddies do.

Daddy’s Hands, The Judds