We are having the most beautiful weather here. Seriously, it feels like Spring out there and I'm in complete denial that Winter isn't over yet. I'm just soaking up the sun and the no-jacket weather while we have it. Which means, Zoe is getting TONS of practice on her bike. Yesterday we went to a friends' house to play outside after making sundaes and heart shaped multi-colored crayons to give to friends for Valentine's Day http://pinkandgreenmama.blogspot.com/2009/02/you-color-my-world-valentines.html. They live about a mile away from us and you can get to their place by going on the Boulder Creek Path the whole way, so I decided to let Zoe give it a try with her two-wheeler. Her school is right next to our friends place, and I've been thinking that pretty soon she could ride her bike to school in the morning, along with Nathan on his bike. She did an awesome job--it didn't take nearly as long as I expected and she was nice and cautious the whole way. In fact I think it's safe to say she walked the bike for at least half the distance...too nervous to go down big hills and it's too hard to go up "tuff hills", as she insisted I call them. I was really proud of her, though. We think that by the end of the summer she will be ready to make the trip on a deadline. Nathan's usually trying to get to class or the library by a certain time, so she's got to get really good before we attempt that but I think I'll start bringing the bike in the back of the stroller to pick her up and let her ride home...she'll be a pro in no time.
Anyway, this whole two-wheeler thing has stirred up all these emotions for me...for one, I've been really shocked to find that I feel really liberated. I expected to feel more nervous and anxious when she started riding like this but I realized that she totally knows what to do, otherwise it wouldn't be happening. So, I feel like I don't have to hover as much, which is really great. When I really started to think about that, I wondered if something similar happens when your kids are old enough to go out by themselves with friends. At night. In cars. Something else I'm terrified to face, and have been since the day Zoe was born. Now, though I wonder if I just put in the work while they are little, MAYBE by the time that stage comes I will be able to enjoy a sense of trust that they will both know what to do to be safe and cautious in life. That's what I'm going on at this point anyway.
Then again, watching her fall for the fourth or fifth time that day, I also had this sinking feeling that this is the beginning of many injuries. I had memories of black eyes and broken arms...not mine, of course (save for my one moment of XGames-like fame when I was 2--see photo below) since I did everything as a kid from the safety of my room with my dolls and their non-threatening silence and inertness...but, my brother's and sister's many, many injuries. My brother Ivan broke his arm multiple times in the same place from flying off the front of his bike, for instance. So, I guess in all likelihood, letting them go out into the big, wide world when they are teenagers will be a combination of trust and dread...and hope that my kids will make it through life in one piece.