She started asking me last year. Not persistently, but often. Never demanding. It was actually more a feeble plead, a half-hearted request completely lacking in confidence.
“You’re not ready” was typically all it took to quell her desires. I wasn’t about to tell her that it was me who was not ready. These things, simple as they may appear on the surface, cut deep as they loose whatever fibers of relevance I imagine binding us together. “Maybe next summer.”
It is not yet summer — hell, spring has been barely discernible through all of the lingering cold and threatening snow. I’m still running the freaking heater!! Yet it only took one warm day, one afternoon of sunshine and temperatures mild enough to force us out of doors to rekindle the pleas. And it would appear the long winter’s nap had given them bite. Half-hearted and lacking confidence were nowhere to be found. These were no longer meek requests but bold demands, asked in a tone that simply said, “I will not be denied.”
“I want my training wheels off!”
“Zella, are you sure? Are you sure you’re ready?”
I stared at her 30 pounds of staid determination looking for weakness.
She never blinked. (Not surprising, for I must admit that she is the family champion at staring contests.)
After what seemed an eternity she finally spoke. “And Zander, too.”
The kid’s got moxie.
“Alright. Let’s do it.”
A few simple twists with a half inch gear wrench and ten minutes later we put another notch in the milestone belt.
Zander was a natural. Just as he does everyday when I drop him off at school, he took off without even considering a look back. Zella, a bit more tentative, took a few minutes to adjust to the new sensation of balancing herself but like her brother was off and running in no time. They were as excited as I’ve seen them, overflowing with pride and a newfound confidence at having accomplished such a great feat.
And me? Well, as proud as I may be of my two little raccoons it still hurts a little to realize that they are growing up in spite of my desires to the contrary. I’m feeling a bit more like the trainers that have been removed……