Sunday, November 25, 2012

Birthdays, Memories

When a little girl and her Mom and I were walking, quite a few weeks ago, Little Girl described exactly the bike she wanted: a pink unicorn bike, with a horn, and when you pushed the button on the horn, the wings came out and the bike started to fly. She was, understandably, quite excited about the prospect of receiving this wonder on her 4th birthday.  Her mom, though, looked a little nervous, anticipating some serious disappointment. I stepped in to explain the difficulties of finding such a bike. From a 3-year-old's perspective, of course, the world that provides dresses printed with charming little fox faces and tops sequinned with flying horses, and Pegasus-drawn doll carriages, and shoes that Nana loves, the perfect boots for her Mom, traps for Granddad to catch crabs in. . . well, why not a unicorn bike that flies.

So I stepped up to apply pin to the balloon, explaining as diplomatically as possible that in the interests of public safety, police might not allow bikes that could fly, Little Girl thought about that for a while, and then conceded that as long as her bike was a pink unicorn bike with wings, it wasn't terribly important that the bike didn't fly. After all, she was almost four, wise to the concessions the world requires. She's not a baby anymore!

Granddad and I offered to take on the risk of finding a pink bike and hoping it would please, sans ailes. Or, at least, I decided, wings sold separately. . . .So Granddad found a great little bike, Nana found some feathery wings, and Granddad even threw in the goofy glasses. On Saturday, we got to see if the new transportation would suit . . .

26 years ago, when Little Girl's aunt turned 4, we presented her with a little pink bike. Pretty frivolous, it seemed then, that tiny size that I knew, by child #3, would be outgrown so quickly. And pink, when she already had a baby brother . . . But it seemed really important to me at the time that sometimes a third child should get something NOT hand-me-down, something that was just what she wanted. It was Megan's first bike, and much tinier than the one we gave Nola, and she kept the training wheels on for a few months, but she loved that little bike for the year before she grew into the next one, probably a hand-me-down.

I couldn't help collapse the two bikes into one, the 26 years telescoping together magically. Aunt Megan, you might not be able to tell from the photo above, is about to deliver a tiny cousin for Little Girl -- in fact, there was some speculation she might manage the trick in time for Nola's birthday. All these firsts for our children and now our grandchildren . . . I remember the excitement of those firsts, and I savour, truly savour, the experience deepening with repetition. . .

She phoned us tonight to thank us, Nola did, and to tell us that she rode her new bike today, without the training wheels, and without even her dad holding her. She also laughed and told us a bit about the day's activities with the other hit birthday presents -- not one, but two, two!! whoopee cushions. Happy Birthday, Growing Girl! You make us so very happy! And take your time, New Little Person, but we're waiting, ready to fold you into our family. . . .

19 comments:

  1. What a privilege it is, to be a grandmother and to have the means and the imagination to make a wee girl's dream come true. Well done!

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    1. It truly is a privilege, Pondside. Thank you!

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  2. This is so beautiful. You are so very fortunate to have her close by, a part of your lives, and to be able to create magic for her. Share the magic with her.

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  3. She's so lucky to have such a wonderful family.
    You are fortunate to be able to watch her grow up and share in the memories.
    She's growing up fast, and wow she's already riding a bike!

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    1. I do feel fortunate -- and isn't it crazy how quickly that time passed?! Can't believe she's on a 2-wheeler!

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  4. Qu'elle est mignone cette petite, Mater! Savourez ces années précieuses qui malheureusement passent beaucoup trop vite.



    Orane

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    1. Merci, Orane. They do pass too quickly, these precious years, and I'm careful to savour them while they're here.

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  5. Oh, she's looking so grown up! I can really see elements of you in her expressions. And you are very wise about health risks and flying bicycles. We have to keep it safe on the streets!

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    1. Absolutely! Imagine the chaos if bikes were willy-nilly riding 8 or 10 feet above the pedestrians!

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  6. The joy on that face brings tears, truly. And I await more good news!

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    1. I think of you with every photo of Nola (and now Harriet -- you'll see!)

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  7. I like your description of time telescoping. How wonderful that you could help make Nola's dream of a pink bicycle come true. She's darling.

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    1. Thanks, Lorrie. I have to agree that she's darling, a Nana's prerogative!

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  8. Such an eloquent paean to the deep layers of our years-- Elle

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    1. Yes, there are rewards to the lengthening shadows . . .

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  9. Nola has the best smile. She'll remember the pink bicycle forever.

    Someone did a very good job decorating that cake.

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