My granddaughter, Nahla, has followed me countless times down into our old cellar over the years, always interested in whatever ‘Papa’ is working on down there. She often, for some reason, also plays with ‘last year’s’ summer toys in winter down there, and vice versa.
For all of last winter and into spring Nahla has persistently pestered me about one thing in particular in the cellar, and about her getting to use it. The thing is a small child’s bike, which, at this time, is almost too small for her. The thing that interested Nahla in the bike so much is that it was her mom’s first bicycle. That bike, with its deflated tires and covering of dust, had hung in the corner, from a cellar ceiling beam, for nearly twenty years, although it doesn’t seem nearly that long to me. It seems like only a few years ago that Emily became too tall for it, and I had hung it up there, for ‘someone else, someday.’ One day about two weeks ago I finally realized that the ‘someone else’ and the ‘someday’ were already here.
On that day, at Nahla’s sincerest urging, I brought the bike up the cellar stairs, out the back door, and got out the hose, a jug of car wash liquid, and the tire pump. Nahla spent much of that visit at Papa and Grammy’s house helping me inflate those tired twenty-plus year-old tires and washing the bike. Then it was time for her first ride on the very special little vehicle that had once belonged to her mom. And then came the second ride, and then the third.
Nahla has a better bike at her own house, but only better because it’s newer. It will probably never be as special to this granddaughter as the old, ragged, and rusted one that waited in our cellar for her, for almost too long.
I think it was the very same day, those few weeks ago, that Emily sent us a sort of ‘double’ picture of Nahla in a car seat when she was a year or so old. Beside her, the other pic was of her now, at six years, sitting like a teenager in their car, with her legs crossed and busily working on the iPad on her lap.
All of us have heard the expressions that ‘time flies,’ and that ‘kids sprout up like weeds,’ and other similar things. Evidently my daughter has already learned an important lesson along those lines that I should have learned long ago. The caption that Em included with the picture said it all: “Don’t Blink.”