Monday, August 12, 2013

Out In Front

Ride like the wind, she said.
We were on our first bike ride together after weeks of her gaining confidence on grass, with a parent trotting beside. Tonight was the real deal.

And faithfully, I followed behind her, shouting encouragement, traffic laws, lyrics to the songs she initiated. It goes without saying- I won't forget that bike ride, ever.

I will always be behind her.
In fact, pregnancy prepares you for that.
There you are, big ol' baby bump in all its glory, stretched out before you, announcing your position in the world.
The one behind your child.
Forever and ever.

I was behind her, pushing her in that giant contraption of a stroller system, all over the damn mall and Target when I was on maternity leave, bored, deliriously happy and content, but stir-crazy nonetheless. Hashtag, winter.
I was behind her when old ladies peered into her stroller and commented me on her big cheeks, or gorgeous hazel eyes.

I was behind her when she learned to roll over.
During that first March Madness she was on this earth.
I wasn't there when she rolled off our bed.
Onto the floor.
But got The Phone Call when I was at Starbucks, nearly to work.
I made it home in record time.

I was behind her when I strapped her to my chest that spring she had croup, and her Ped. told me to take her outside in April without a blanket in her face. It's OK he assured me. You're supposed to.
I sat on the icy deck stairs in the waning light of day, cell phone clutched tightly in my hand, wondering what the Hell I had gotten myself into by giving birth to a human of my own.

I was behind her, unfortunately, when she fell down our own staircase.
Twice, in one day.
I was behind her, an ankle's reach too short, the second time.
That second time? We got on tape.
I swore a lot.
On tape.

I was behind her as she finally walked, at age nine months.
And I say finally because it was all she tried to do from that particular July until she took off, in October. It was her goal in life.
And I was behind her.

I was behind her as she boarded her first airplane, shy of two, holding her hand down the aisle.
Each passing row of passengers sighing in relief as we kept going.
She didn't make a peep, for the record.

I was behind her as she started preschool as a three-year-old.
And four-year-old.

I was behind her on the swings, on the fieldtrip buses, on watersides, rides at Disney World, and on escalators while Christmas shopping at the largest mall in North America. I was behind her as I ran her into the ER for the first time as a Mama, again, wondering what the Hell I had gotten myself into by giving birth to a human of my own.

I've been behind her for her entire life.
And waiting to be exactly right there all of mine.

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