Wednesday, February 01, 2012


When Connor was born, I spent the first week of his life gazing at him and sobbing about everything that would ever happen in his life. I cried for all the times his heart might be broken- by a friend, a significant other, the death of a pet, not making a team, etc. But I really shed tears over all the things he would do to break my heart. He would marry someone who wasn't ME! He's going to go to college and move out of the house! Drive a car that I'm not a passenger in! Spend the night with friends! So many times when he won't be in my direct line of sight! I called Mom for reassurance. "How did you ever let me ride my bike around the block without watching me do it!!!" She laughed and reminded me for the millionth time that week that when the time came, I would be ready. Then she hung up, shaking her head and giving thanks that I had, in fact, moved out and married someone besides her.

(Fast forward eight and a half years.)

Shortly after Christmas, Connor wanted to know if he and Chloe could ride their bikes in the cove in front of our house if they wore their helmets and promised to pay attention for cars. I hesitated for an instant but told them yes. Then Gidget and I sat at the window, watching them and whimpering because they were out there without us.

(Fast forward another four weeks.)

Yesterday, the kids were on their bikes and the dog and I were on foot. I suggested we go around the little block together, before it was time to go in.

(Pause: When I was growing up, our block was our block. There were no alternate routes that didn't add 2-3 miles and encompass several neighborhoods. Where we live now? A million ways to define our "block." What you need to know- neither the little block nor the big block go on any main roads. Unpause.)

As we started down the street, Connor was itching to pull away from the rest of us slowpokes. "Can I go around the big block?" he asked. I didn't exactly answer. Had the time come? Was I ready? A minute later, he begged again. "Yes," I relented, immediately picturing a thousand bad things that could happen to him the minute he pulled around that corner, out of my sight.

He took off fast, and as I saw him get to the one neighborhood road that had to be crossed, Chloe and I both called out, "LOOK!" He did- I could see his head exaggeratedly swiveling back and forth to assure me that he was looking both ways for cars. Then he rounded the corner. I told myself he would be fine, but not long after I saw a car turn down the road behind him. In my head I couldn't stop repeating, Please watch for my baby. Please don't hit my baby! And they didn't. Another corner and my fast-pedaling Connor met us right where we thought he would. Chloe took off after him, suddenly jealous that he could go fast by himself and she was stuck on training wheels with Mom and Gidget.

Gidget and I made a half-hearted attempt to run after them, but we couldn't keep up. They reached another corner in the distance, and stopped to look back at me. I shook my head yes, and off they went to travel the last few yards to the driveway without me. I followed at my own speed, still holding my breath for a second as I rounded the last corner myself, thrilled to find that we had all made it home just fine. The time came, and we were ready.