Two wide tires and an oil-covered chain moving the heavy, blue frame forward. Kickstand up, helmet on, she and the bike held upright by the placement of pygmy wheels.
An ordinary rite of passage.
And it eluded us.
Tricycle. Bicycle. Scooter. Didn't matter.
She never wanted to ride any of them.
So I never pressed.
I told myself she'd learn ... eventually.
Honestly, though, I thought she'd drive a car before she learned to ride a bike.
And that haunted me more than the worries piling on about just growing up. The guilt of not taking advantage of the right advantages. Should we be doing this? Should be we doing that?
Magic 8-Ball says: "Reply hazy, try again"
"When I was her age I was riding all over the universe," I thought to myself, wondering all the while what good will really come of comparing childhoods three decades apart.
Also wondering what she'd miss by never learning to ride a bike.
Independence? Freedom? Rush-hour traffic? Possible collision with a car?
"Maybe it's not the worst thing after all," I reason.
"Why grow up too fast?"
Magic 8-Ball says: "My Sources say no."
And as these things go ... on a crisp, fall day ... months after pretending to enjoy the twice-daily walks to and from the park, trailing behind her brother, who was careening down the sidewalk on his training bike as her bike leaned unused in the carport ... she popped the question:
"Will you take my training wheels off? I want to try riding the bike for real."
And within a few tries, she was off and riding.
Wobbly but balanced.
Magic 8-Ball says: "It is decidely so."