Monday, March 29, 2004

This evening I pushed Julia in her hand-me-down umbrella stroller as we followed Allie around the neighborhood. Deb stayed at home and cooked a wonderful dinner for Allie and me. Julia would have to settle for strained sweet potatoes and pureed bananas.

Allie rode her bike. She tells me she has to get mad before she finds the strength to get the pedals going. Once she's in motion, though, Allie can fly down the sidewalk on her little bike. I was nervous watching her. I could feel my eyes darting back and forth, up and down scanning for any sign of danger. I'd see a car and yell at Allie to pedal backwards (for some reason Allie's not ready to accept the hit the brakes command while she's in the midst of her best Lance Armstrong impression).

We'd come to a corner and I'd repeatedly yell at her to make the turn. "Make the turn, Allie. There's a turn here, don't forget to turn. Slow down and turn," I'd tell her.

"I know. I can turn."

At every corner I was convinced she'd keep pedaling right into traffic and wind up directly beneath a 2002 silver Camry with Michelin tires on its alloy wheels (yes, the visualization was that vivid).

"Allie pedal backwards. Slow down. You need to turn."

"I can turn. I'm gonna turn."




She'd turn perfectly each time.

Then I'd breathe.

It wasn't all tension and repeated pleas for proper steering. It was fresh air, nice level sidewalks and time to spend witnessing how and where my kids are growing up. And they're growing up fast. Faster than Allie can pedal away from me even when she finds that mad strength and sails down the sidewalk.

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