I remember him staring at her-a mixture of pride and excitement. Realizing that at some point she would be not only his baby sister, but his best friend. His tiny bare feet dangled then, too. His bike helmet was a little too big. He needed a push to get up the hills and walked tepidly down anything steeper than our driveway because he was afraid of going too fast.
A year passed. She donned her Minnie Mouse hat and a smile for most of our trip around the block. Her feet couldn't reach the pedals, but her hands could reach far enough to push the music button repeatedly (and annoyingly, I might add) announcing our arrival to the neighbors. Still not afraid of much she moved her tiny body back and forth in attempt to get me to go faster.
He grinned at her quickly after we forced him to stop for a picture and then pedaled ahead as fast as his feet would take him. His helmet fit just right. He was no longer afraid of hills and asked for less pushes.
This year, we took off the baby seat. She holds herself on the bike all my "Mia-self" now. Her legs are still little and chubby. She prefers to let them dangle while we push. She wears her own bike helmet that looks just a little too big. She smiles, but it's a timid one. She's afraid of hills and bumps. She still loves to play the music, but quickly brings her hands back to the death grip she has on the handle bars.
He still smiles down at her with pride. He was a half a block ahead of us by the time we were ready to take this picture. His bike helmet is too small. So is his bike. He pedals as fast as he can down the hills and waits for us impatiently at each corner. We have to remind him to stay close.
Someday, all too soon, they will climb onto their Mountain bikes. I will watch their long muscular legs carry them away from me and wonder how time could pass so quickly. They won't need a push and they probably won't wear their helmets. I will miss the annoying music that accompanied my walks around the block. I will miss chubby legs and smiling faces waiting impatiently for me.
I will miss our bike rides around the block.