07 September 2006

After The Fall

One of the most obvious facts about grown-ups, to a child, is that they have forgotten what it is like to be a child. [Jarrell]

I forget often enough. Others do too and it is apparently normal enough, which ought to make us wonder.

My boy Alberte has made a steady come back after his fall. I was greatly to be blamed for it for not thinking enough as a child or forgetting what it was like for me to take those first rides and those spills. But he has come back and has been riding stronger than ever, accomplishing hard climbs and hills that took me longer to accomplish than it is taking him -- honestly. I gather and hope that he is beginning to enjoy himself more -- for himself -- rather than for me: to please me. I push him rather tenderly now, letting him decide when he wants to ride, where he wants to ride and how. My child psychology is so simple and predictable that my boy knows better, I think.

This does not mean that riding has become a free for all. Occasionally he still wanders off into the middle of the road -- as any eight-year-old might on peaceful country roads -- thinking child things and forgetting that cars aren’t thinking or caring about what he’s thinking. This is where I reprimand him most and also why I choose, whenever possible, to ride behind him so I can see what he’s doing; something I failed to do the day he fell. I have come to learn that riding close behind children is a significant safety feature. I can normally hear cars coming from behind first and warn him accordingly. I also ask him to warn me -- sort of like a game -- when cars approach from the opposite direction. We sort of share responsibilities that way.

But he has come back well and strong. Seeing his thin, little legs pedal away, his bottom up from the seat to conquer that hill, just makes me smile. Makes me remember what it was like to be a kid again.


the old bag said...

Beautiful post, beautiful son!

A.R.B. said...

Thanks, O.B. He's beautiful inside too. (Hard to do posts on one's own -- like having people punished over family albums! But I do try to get some reminders to myself on safety, which, by the way, as my son pointed out today: note that he's wearing the helmet in a wrong position...it is way back on his head and obviously does not protect his forehead....I'll post a little correction on that.)