On her first day, she is carefully placed in a protective shell and braced in the backseat for the journey home. She is swaddled, fed and camouflaged from the perils outside the subdivision. Chauffeured in her 4 wheeled double stroller, alongside a brother as they laugh and point at butts.
Then it happens.
Hours of practice, skinned knees, falling down to get up and dads cache of cliches regarding “this is real-life” culminate to a single moment of euphoria.
Today she tastes the air. It’s something new and fresh, she loves it but dad’s watery eyes during non-allergy season tell a different tale. The first hint of freedom is upon this little girl.
She was asked “why did you choose a boy bike?” and “are you SURE that’s the helmet you want… did you see My Little Kitty or whatever it is over there in pink”?
In 50 yards and 15 seconds, nothing else matters. I watched my little girl grab freedom by the handlebars as the wind drafts down the spikes on her helmet. She figured it out, with some help, but it is all her. She will never look back.
Dad stares in restless admiration as she cruises the cul de sac for the 20th time. She talks about how the wind feels on her face. Never reminiscing of the falls, scrapes, and tears while shouting “I can’t” for now in a grandiloquence tone from that two-wheeled metal beast she softly roars”hey daddy, look, no seat belt”.
Yes dear, no seat belt indeed. Open your mouth, stick out your tongue and enjoy the exquisite jolt of immunity.
And that’s life.