“Let me help you tighten your helmet. Is the seat okay? Do you know how to shift the gears? Let’s stay on the sidewalk until you get the hang of your new bike. . . . .”
Sound familiar? These could have been my words 25 years ago but they are not my words . . . they are my daughter’s as we get ready to take our first bike ride together on my new bike.
Helmets secured, we take off . . . my daughter in the lead so she can pick a safe route with little traffic. When we start up a hill, she turns around to keep an eye on me. When I topple over, having unsuccessfully tried to turn while going too slowly up the hill, she is right there to help.
As I lie in the street with my bike on top of me (and my ego bruised more than my knees), people seemed to materialize out of nowhere asking if I was okay. My daughter lifted my bike off me and soothingly said, “poor momma, let me help you up.” Had a crowd not gathered, she would likely have offered to kiss my boo-boo.
Dusting off my pants and the crowd, I get back on and ride off behind her to the closest coffee shop outdoor table to chill out with some caffeine and keep an eye on our bikes and my bloody knees.
Waiting outside while she goes in to buy our coffee, our recent role reversal is not lost on me as I ponder the symmetry of life between this mother and daughter.
I first noticed the change when I moved to San Diego 7+ years ago after retiring from my law practice in Chicago. It was a subtle change at first, such as carrying my canvas bags after filling up on groceries at Trader Joe’s.
Then there were the times she’d reach out to take my hand when crossing the street mid-block as we took a short cut to our favorite neighborhood tavern for happy hour.
On airport trips she carried my luggage and did the reminders to put my ticket and id in my pocket and finish my liquids before going through security.
At some point, daily morning texts became a ritual checking on how I slept and my plans for the day. Once she taught me how to Bitmoji, texting became a contest of who could be most outrageous expressing daily moods and thoughts.
Due to her encouragement, I eat my vegetables – I drink lots of water (instead of lots of wine) – I take my vitamins and I floss my teeth!
As I ponder life’s cycles, that song from Fiddler on the Roof begins to play on the soundtrack of my mind.
“Where is the Little Girl I carried . . .Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers, blossoming even as we gaze.”