As you can see here, Dalia is learning to ride a bike, training wheels and all. This is her second day out on the sidewalk with her new bike–part of a concerted effort we’re making to take a walk with both kids after dinner as a way of warding off the cabin fever and peevishness that comes from staying indoors all day after nap.
It’s a sort of lovely moment–one of those things you knew you would do with your kid when you thought about parenting. You can’t take any of these milestones for granted, really, so it’s fulfilling to get there and be there over these next weeks.
The only problem with learning to ride a bike in New York is that I’m a little worried that she might get run over. Not by cars, but by people. Dalia is pokey on her bike; it’s a labor for her to get momentum up, especially if the pedals are in the wrong position. But New York waits for no man, and the stockbrokers and hairdressers and doormen and joggers and security guards and securities lawyers all steamed past, half of them with their heads bowed to their smartphones. Dalia herself kept letting her eyes wander to her feet, instead of looking ahead of her, so even on the wider parts of the sidewalk, there were several near-collisions.
But seeing all that bustle, too, was strangely satisfying. Because it looked so absurd, all these people hustling like they were late for a train, on a perfectly fine summer evening miles from Penn Station. I say this as someone who is constantly rushing around while checking email on my phone. I’m just as absurd. But this little rite of passage, watching my daughter drift down the block on her tiny bike, just slows it all down for me. There isn’t much to do but watch and live somewhat fully in the moment.
And that is a better gift to me than that bike was to her.