a girl from lily's kindergarten class appeared on the sidewalk with another girl, holding hands. this girl rides the bus with lily and was her first friend last year when they started kindergarten. she said hi to lily and lily said hi. every lap lily made around with her little sister, i watched her linger watching the kids her age play. i heard them talking about telling their dad on a boy who was running around with them. lily looked on curiously. i asked her if she wished she could play with them. she said they didn't seem interested. in playing with her, that is. i winced. the hint of rejection for my little girl. she said they were telling on someone but she didn't know who. then she kept riding and looking and lingering, but she asked me to stop counting her laps. she gave addie some tips on getting going when the pedals aren't in the right place, when you want to start without putting your feet on the ground. i smiled at her helpfulness toward her little sister. her little sister grimaced and rode away with a sharp 'i know how, lily'. even though she didn't.
i gave the girls their 10 minute warning, and 10 minutes later i gave a 5 minute warning, and i knew we really needed to get home for much needed showers, so about 30 minutes after the first warning, i was reluctantly standing back up and we were circling to go. we decided to ride home another longer way that wasn't so steep. a way that they could ride their bikes most of the way, but it isn't totally flat. lily circles the cul de sac over and over to get momentum up. i pushed addie ahead and she pedaled hard. lily caught up to us at the corner. i told her to keep going, but to stop at the stop sign. she was able to ride all the way to the stop sign, a few more blocks up a slight hill, she stopped as instructed, and when we caught up with her, she was mad that she had to stop. that her momentum was gone. i gave her a mini- lecture about safety and we crossed the intersections after several cars had passed. lily rode hard until the bottom of our hill, about 2 blocks from our house and then got off her bike and laid next to it on the sidewalk and started to cry. she was mad that i took all of her momentum away. mad that i made her stop because addie was too slow. mad that i don't think she can do it on her own. and probably mad that she wasn't playing in the cul de sac with the girls her own age rather than riding home and waiting for her unappreciative sister. i offered to carry her bike up the hill but she didn't want that. that wasn't the point. she wanted to ride up the hill and i had ruined everything, she repeatedly screamed from behind me. you ruined it for me. i kept walking and praised addie for working so hard and doing so well on her bike. lily cried some more from behind. i kept my patience, but she was really ruining it for me, what was just a lovely hour for the three of us. all for an impossible to ride up hill, anyway.
or was that really it?
and so was i.
but i was grateful to go to a place of understanding and sympathy for her little seven-year-old heart, rather than get angry at her tantrum. later that night i had a little tantrum of my own. one that didn't have anything to do with what i cried about.
we aren't so different, lily and i.