It happened on an early spring day, one of those days that really starts the job of chasing winter’s chill away from your garden and your body. I was working in a front flowerbed, when Kristen, then about 5, came out of the house, jumped on her bike, and rode off down the street. She was out of the driveway before I realized I had never seen her do that before. Not in that fashion, anyway. The training wheels were still on the bike, and they had received plenty of use. But the training wheels weren’t touching the ground. She was past that. I asked my wife when Kristen had learned to ride without them, and she said she hadn’t. But there she was, cruising down the street. She’d figured it out, she was ready to go, and we hadn’t noticed the transition.
Kristen’s fourteen now, and she’s ridden off on many bicycles since then, literally and figuratively. If I could figure out a way to slow down the years, I would. The time is coming when she’ll be ready to ride off to find her place in the world, and I suspect I won’t see that coming any more than I saw that first ride coming.