Just a moment to blog – a moment stolen from a weekend of packing up boxes of toys, painting walls and ceiling of P's room, and then re-arranging toys. Of course, P being P, the boxes were not just toys but boxes of 'precious stuff' like cardboard, stones, shells, tiny springs, paper clips, rubber bands etc. etc. Anyway, back to the moment.
This afternoon was warm - clear blue sky and the park was full of crowds of people eating, playing guitars, listening to music, throwing frisbees. I had taken Pearl for a quick bike ride and play, before we both went mad dealing with her room. She rode her bike, practising using her breaks and avoiding people. After that she went into the bushes to make another map of the paths, for her secret cousins' gang. Eventually we decided to go home and it was in the sinking sun of the ride home that the moment happened.
Pearl was flying ahead of me as the sun flickered through the trees around the park. I was suddenly struck by a memory so sharp it hurt, of cycling on a summer evening – probably when I was eight years old. The air was just starting to chill but I just wanted to pedal for ever. I felt such joy as I realised I was young, that I could ride like this for many, many summer evenings.
This memory arriving as it did meant that we took a long time getting home. We took every diversion, and I waited on a lot of corners, just so she could go on riding. It's one of the most wonderful things about being a parent, those moments when your children touch a memory and you are suddenly really able to connect with how they are feeling. I guess it felt especially powerful to me because after my sister was killed riding her bike (when I was fourteen) I never really rode again. Riding a bike seems like the epitome of childhood freedom and joy to me and something that I lost very suddenly. So I think I'll spend a lot of evenings watching our girl fly along powered by her skinny little legs – it's a beautiful sight.