Last weekend, after a year on his balance bike (genius, European bike with no pedals that teaches balance rather than
dependence on training wheels), Col hopped on his two-wheeler and rode down the street.
He didn't seem to mind that a certain parent was crying and cheering and leaping behind him with a camera.
I don't know if it's because Col is my first child or if it's his preemie history, but I get choked up at any moment
that smacks of a normal, developmental milestone. Watching Col whip around on two wheels, I couldn't help but flash
back to when he was an incubator dweller taking meals through a tube snaked down his throat. Back then, when pressing
the doctors on the likelihood of my 25-weeker turning out "normal," they'd shrug and gently tick off the laundry list
of disabilities, as if to say, "Be prepared."
Col barely took his helmet off all weekend (which isn't entirely a bad thing), pleading constantly to ride his bike.
And while I ride for exercise, fresh air and to bypass the fossil-fuel economy for one millisecond of my life, Col
rides for the sheer pleasure of propelling his body forward.
Rose comes along in the bike trailer like a handbag I remember to sling over my shoulder at the last minute. Poor
Rose so often is stuck playing the supporting role in Col's Great Adventures, tagging along genially as Dan and I
sing operas about Col's latest accomplishment. But really, Rose seems quite happy to watch the world fly by from the
bike trailer, digging into a bag of snacks and running up the bill on her broken cell phone. And I'll be the first to
sing an aria or two on the joy of the flexible child.
It was sweet to see Col's pride in his achievement. His eyes were as shiny as his black helmet as he pedaled around, shouting, "Did you call Nana yet? Can you call Mathew now and tell him?"
But he still has a lot to work on: namely, remembering that he's riding a bike. It's not unusual for Col to slip 20
feet behind me delivering a thoughtful though perplexing monologue on how birds and marmots are similar. Or he'll
veer harrowingly close to taking us all down because a beetle scurrying across the street caught his eye. I've seen
the internal struggle that arises when he's cruising too fast to grab a tennis ball rolling down the gutter. When we
cross busy Main Avenue, I'm the mama gesturing like my hands are on fire, while Col lopes along, waving to idling
cars like "hey, did ya notice? I'M RIDING A BIKE!"
Despite the 10 mini heart attacks I suffer coaching Col through summer rush on the bike path, I'm learning to enjoy
the pure pleasure of propelling my body forward on the longest, sweetest days of the year.
Reach Rachel Turiel at email@example.com or check out her blog about raising children, chickens and backyard
food at 6,512 feet: 6512andgrowing.wordpress.com.