A right of passage, a badge of honor, a childhood stepping stone. We’re headed out for our family after dinner bike ride/dog walk. A beautiful spring evening. Trying to burn a few adult calories and some kid energy before bedtime. I have the dog and daddy has Audrey on the push trike. Nora is flying ahead on her bike having become braver “now that she’s five” she tells us. She has always been a careful child, since infancy she has been able to calculate risk like a pro. But her bike riding confidence has slowly been building. Though she always stops at a street and walks her bike across. She also makes sure she’s only far enough ahead to feel like a big girl but still be in our sights. I don’t worry (much). Tonight was just another bike ride. Laughing, smiling, until… I saw the wobble, the lean, the dreaded handlebar spin and then she’s falling. My heart skips a beat as I lunge toward her somehow willing myself to be closer than I am. Close enough to catch her, but I am more than half a block away. She hits the ground, all knees and elbows and sidewalk. Then the scream….”Mo-ommm-aaaaa!!”. Oh sweet girl I’m almost there, racing toward her as she tries to pick herself up from under her bike. I finally make it, an eternity and she informs me she crashed. Yes, I see, I tell her. We sit her down on the curb to check her injuries. Her helmet thankfully deflected any wounds to her head, no bumps there and her jacket protected her little elbows. But the sunshine has brought with it shorts. Oh, her knee. The childhood badge of honor, the scraped knee. Grateful it’s only this, but Ouch! I remember those, so painful with just enough skin missing to be so uncomfortable as it heals. The scabs that form cracking with every knee bend. Daddy carries her home to tend to her wound. The bike ride ending prematurely. Darn sidewalks! Once home her knee is washed and jammies put on ever so carefully, shorts she tells us, she wants nothing to touch it. I imagine she will want to sleep with her leg hanging out over the blanket. We will let her. She lets daddy, only daddy, spray the antibacterial mist for a little extra healing help and then sits with it air drying on the couch. We try to distract her with some extra movie time. But her little mind is spinning. She’s worried she’ll crash again, which I honestly tell her is probably unfortunately true. She never wants her training wheels off, which I tell her is okay with me (but I know this statement in time, probably sooner than I hope, will not be true), she wishes she hadn’t fallen which I also wish. Growing up is hard for the child and the parents, but is necessary and I am grateful for every milestone my children reach. Even the painful ones. Watching my sweet daughter being carried up the stairs heading to bed breaks my heart, but I know this is only the first of many scrapes she will have as she grows up. And as I lay next to her holding her hand until she falls asleep I hope she always wants me there to comfort her in times of pain. As she closes her eyes I whisper, that together we can be brave. Mainly a reminder to myself.
*I’ve submitted this post to Bicycle Stories Month 🙂