Note to my daughter who might read this one day – I apologize for embarrassing you, but I’m sure by this point we can just call it even.

Last night, my daughter caught us by surprise in announcing that she wanted to be a big girl and sleep without a diaper. She’s been potty trained for a bit now – well, not much training really went into it, to be honest. Like true Myers Briggs “P”‘s, my wife and I had all the best of intentions in trying to do some kind of potty boot camp, but procrastinated for so long that one day my daughter just decided she was ready. This, of course, led to a mad Amazon.com dash to purchase all of the necessary supplies (so glad for Amazon Prime). But until now, we were still keeping her in diapers at night. We hadn’t really discussed when we were going to try and make the total shift so, of course, my daughter once again was the one making the decisions.

One of the constant gifts of parenthood has been how often my daughter has taught me life lessons, and this case is no different. I have to admire how she just decided to forgo the training pants and just go for it. I have not been so bold. As some of you may know, I have experienced a rather significant weight loss over the last few months (almost 50 lbs when all is said and done). My weight has been a challenge for me since I was a little kid, and so I am still in a bit of disbelief and state of self doubt that I will be able to keep the weight off. The best piece of evidence of this is my closet, which is now a museum of clothing that no longer fits. I realized that it might be time to start gathering new items for the wardrobe when a coworker remarked that I looked like a little kid wearing his dad’s sport coat one day. yet, I cannot seem to part with them, no matter how foolish I might look in them now. It’s not out of sentimental value or some attachment (except to maybe a college sweatshirt or two). It’s out of fear of what happens if when I gain the weight back. I’m afraid that if I take off the “training wheels” I might just fall and not be able to get back up.

But so what. There is a good chance that my daughter will have an accident one night, in fact its more than likely. If it happens, we will clean everything up, give her a big hug, remind her that accidents will always happen, and we’ll try again.

Training wheels are convenient. They keep us from failing completely. But, they are also a crutch. They can keep us from taking risks. They can keep us from trying to truly become our better selves. Without the training wheels, we might fall. But with them, we won’t. And we’ll never learn what we could be without them. Failure IS an option, because the picking ourselves back up after we fall down can provide us with some of our most valuable lessons.

So, if my wife is reading this, we can finally clean out the closet this weekend. But don’t think you can take over the extra space.