The other day, my daughter and I celebrated her 4th birthday. It wasn’t much of a celebration only because I don’t know how to go about celebrating birthdays. All I knew to do was go to the grocery store close to where I drop her off everyday at the daycare and ordered her a little cake with “Happy Birthday JJ” with sprinkles. Before I showed it to her after I got home from work, I put four candles on it and lit ‘em. She liked it. Liked it a lot, best I could tell. I did too... prolly mor'n she did. Even at four years of age she seemed to get the idea that she was special... that this was her day. She is, and it was.
I also got her the littlest bike I could find since she’s so tiny for her age. A bike with training wheels. I wanted her to get over her love affair with the new fangled, plastic thing-a-ma-gig they make nowadays for parents that wanna be “safe” for their kids who don’t want to buy a real bike. The ones that don’t want to buy a real trike. (Are there any out there who know what a trike is? Just curious.)
When baby girl saw me walking down the hall with this cake flaming with four candles, she screamed like she’d seen a ghost. I mean... jumped up and down and everything. A smile worth more than I can say. Made my heart flutter – it did – like you wouldn’t believe... like I actually did something good.
It wasn’t long before she was trying out her new bike in the driveway. Funny how a kid – after getting on a simple machine like a bike – looks so stupid sometimes. She did. Look stupid, I mean.
But she liked it right off... I could tell. Was peddling like a natural. Till she took a turn too fast and too sharp. And fell. Not a bad fall, but bad enough. For her. She got right up, dusted herself off, and went to get her “better” bike. The one slung lower to the ground. Yep... she was done with that thang called a bike. It was too new. Too radical. Too outside her comfort zone. She was ready for the familiar. I tried to talk her out of her decision, but the case was closed... over... done with. 'Fore long, she was riding the plastic thing-a-ma-gig -- like always.
All too often, my four year old reminds me of us. Us grownups.