Isaac jumps off a bench, just another lesson for mom in how much… (Sarah Kelber )
We’re back home after a longer-than-usual vacation, and it was simply fantastic. All the time together came with a realization: My boys, especially the preschooler, are growing up.
I feel like, with Aaron, who’s 7 months old, I’ve been making an effort to revel in the little moments and savor his babyhood. Thanks to his big brother, I know exactly how fleeting this time can be. And since we’ve decided we’re a two-and-through family, I know I won’t be doing this again. One of my favorite times of day is during daycare drop-off, when I’m walking Aaron in his car seat from the side of the building where Isaac’s class is to the other side. He gazes up at me as I carry his seat down the hall, and more often than not, he gets a case of the giggles -- and it’s often one of the best parts of my day.
Our vacation reminded me to savor the moments with my big kid, too, because these preschool days are equally as fleeting.
Isaac caught me by surprise a few times during our trip, but nothing so much as on a big pink bicycle in the garage of the house we were staying in. He has a tricycle at home, but in our townhouse development, there’s not really a great place to ride it. But they have big trikes at school, and he’s apparently mastered them because after just a couple of minutes tutoring on the big bike (with training wheels), he was all about it. (In fact, he was so sure of himself that at one point, I noticed him in the driveway, helmet on, about to get back on the bike -- with no one out there with him. We had quite a long talk after that one.)
The rest of our stay, he wanted to be outside, on that bike, riding circles on the cul de sac, and trying out the bike trails, too. My husband was taking a video of Isaac zooming down the street at a speed I would have thought impossible before this past week when he got a little off balance and fell off -- after which he immediately got up, dusted himself off, got back on and kept riding. This from a kid who often wants a Band-Aid on a bruise!
So my dear 4-year-old is turning (even more) into his own person. It’s amazing to watch, even as it makes me want to grab a clock and try to stop time with brute will alone.
One challenge that the bicycle presents to me, however: I try very much to not helicopter my kids and to let Isaac especially find his own way when the situation allows it. But I have visceral, detailed memories of falling off my bike and knocking out my front teeth when I was 6 years old. Every time I think about someone skinning a knee or an elbow, I get this flash, like a nerve memory of what it feels like.
But even knocking out my teeth didn’t keep me off my own bike long. So I need to take a lesson from my own son and let him get back on the bike and keep on pedaling. We just have to find a place nearby to make that happen. And I need to savor those moments, too.