Sunday, March 7, 2010

Easy Rider

I woke up this morning with the idea to take Jingju to the park to try riding her bike without the training wheels. The sun was finally out and we'd all been cooped up indoors for far too long. Jingju wasn't sure at first if she was ready, but brave girl that she is, she agreed to give it a try. I removed the wheels and we practiced for about fifteen minutes with me running along side her holding her at the waist to keep her from tipping. She was giggling a lot and struggling with staying balanced, and I was beginning to think that she wasn't going to be able to collect herself to pedal on her own. Then at once, she seemed to be leaning less on me and I lightened my hold on her. "OK mom, let go" she said, and so I did, and so she went... and went... and went. It was really quite a magical moment when I realized she wasn't going to stop and she wasn't going to fall. There had been an elderly couple watching us from a park bench and I could hear them cheering and clapping, and Jingju was squeaking with laughter. I stopped running after her and just watched her knowing that she was going to be OK. I had a fleeting moment of the awareness of the thought, "she doesn't need me," a thought I know I shall experience again and again as my amazing girl takes on her life.

I've been struggling in recent months with a kind of low grade melancholy. I think with Jingju's arrival I've been brought back through an accounting of my own childhood and am grieving time lost. I've come a bit late in life into the role I've always wanted most for myself. To be a mother. It almost didn't happen at all. And now, here's this child, who thankfully, radiates with self-confidence and courage, and I am so relieved for her. And then there's another awareness I have--that for the first 5 1/2 years of her life, Jingju had no mother or father to applaud her or encourage her or console her. When Jingju first came home and I would say, "Wo ai ni" (I love you), I was speaking her native language, but I had the sense that the meaning of the words was foreign to her. When I kissed her goodnight tonight, I told her how amazed I was that she was able to ride her bike so well today. She responded with, "I love you mommy," which I interpreted as "I love you for loving me," and that seems just right.

I don't know why my videos are showing up black, but click on them, they do work.

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