Before I was a mother, I just didn’t understand the celebration and pride associated with simple accomplishments like walking and talking. After all, we all do it, don’t we? I couldn’t fully appreciate what seemed so ordinary. Yet somehow Finn’s first pseudo-words seemed like miracles and his first awkward steps across his room at eleven months nearly sent me into hysterics. Similarly, when this past spring Finn went from falling-down without training wheels to gliding around on a (much more instructive) balancing bike to finally riding his very own big boy bicycle down and BEYOND our driveway, I exhibited the same degree of shameless excitement. In fact, in retrospect I see that both his first walk and his first ride evoke a nearly identically dorky, gushing, I’m-almost-afraid-to share-this mommy voice.
Walking and riding a bike are significant rites of passage — both signs of independence AND of communion. Finn is not only growing up to become his own person, but also joining the rest of us. Now, as the Royal Poinciana in our backyard starts to bloom fire and we await the advent of our long summer days, I can plan for real evening family bike rides — not the rides of the past when I strapped Finn into the bike seat right behind me as passenger, but rides on which Finn pedals alongside us on his own bright orange Mutant Mongoose.