During my divorce, my acquaintances told me how traumatic divorce was because it meant “the loss of hopes and dreams” and reflected the very essence of divorce; my pain was not the result of saying goodbye to an imperfect couple, but the collapse of everything I had built, the dissolution of everything I had accumulated and, worse, the destruction of all my future projects for myself and my family. My girlfriend was thrilled when she spoke of her fear and inability to speak, and of the time she needed to recover even after finding her daughter. Although I have the unfortunate habit of worrying sometimes irrationally, it has become an unusual source of recent anguish that would teach my children to ride a bicycle without motor wheels. At every stage of my life, I have experienced the same heartbreaking process of pain and loss. The next day, my daughter came home with an even more precious gift, a story that she had written about learning her bike. It’s no coincidence that in the middle of a particularly disturbing month, when my ex threatened to sue me for her misunderstanding about her visitation plan, my daughter turned six and asked me to remove her training bike from her bike. I first pushed myself against the loss, then cried with many warm, sad tears, and finally lost the old shape of myself that had held the object tightly, like a second skin. When we face such a loss, like parents, we cling to our children and resist their demands to let them go. Every time I faced the danger of loss, I thought I couldn’t get out of it, that I wouldn’t get over it, and I inevitably did. Two weeks later, as my ex-wife’s threats increased, I brought my daughter with me and she trained in balance and sliding on a bicycle. A bicycle symbolized the newly discovered independence of young children, and I loved mine and the sense of adventure and freedom it gave me. I had taught my daughter to ride a bicycle, and again she gave me a treasure. Nontoxic people will try to make the relationship work, and when they do, the toxic person will get exactly what they want: control. Carolyn Schwartz is a high school teacher, mother of two young children, runner, and aspiring yogi. That afternoon, after several attempts, when she finally asked me to let her go, and I did so indecisively, my beautiful, tough girl disappeared. Ironically, my ex-husband missed several important milestones for our children when we were together; as the only constant in my children’s lives, I swear I will always be there for them, so my fears are unfounded.