Today, I walked to church. It was such a pretty morning, and it was nice to hear the whirring of the cicadas. My church is early, and as I passed by the playground that William loves so dearly, I saw a man with a little girl on a bike in the empty parking lot. He hunched over talking to her earnestly, and she was on her bike, with her little helmet, gazing up at him, hanging on to his every instruction.
Appropos to nothing, I thought, 'she'll never forget this day.' I remember my own father holding on to the back of my little red bike as I mastered the two wheeler. Even after 50 years, I remember. Learning to ride a two wheeler is one of those childhood milestones, no less memorable than our first day of school, or Christmas, or the loss of our first beloved childhood pet. You just remember these things.
I stopped. I couldn't help myself. I wanted to see what happened next. And then they pushed off, and the little girl began to pedal shakily, and off she went, for some distance, slowly, uncertainly. She braked, and then quickly put her feet down. She looked back immediately, and the man stood behind her, perhaps 20 feet, cheering and clapping. From where I stood, off to the side, perhaps 100 feet away from the scene, I began to clap too, and I called out "Good job!" I heard the man say, "How about that?" and they waved. I waved back and continued on my way to church.
It was kind of cool to think that this was a day that she will remember always...and that now, as a total stranger, I am a part of that memory too.