My son watches intently as his bike is transformed. He grabs the handlebars and strides with the bike to the footpath. His dad holds him by the shoulders to get him steady, and then gives him a gentle push. He wobbles down the path determinedly. No training wheels.
I watch him from the front gate, his wiry body pedalling away from me, his legs gaining speed as he finds his balance. Tears spill onto my cheeks. It is a physical pain,the drawing away of a child as they gain independence. I ache for the days when I held him comfortably in one arm and fed him from my breast. I don’t want to hold my son back. But each advancing step brings pain as well as pride. And I see from watching my friends around me that this doesn’t stop. One mother of young adults books a holiday house each year that will accommodate all her children, just in case they decide to join her. They rarely do. I remember my own mother sobbing at the airport when I headed overseas for the first time.