This last week, Nimue acheived a new milestone: she got to leave school on her bike all by herself for the very first time. Having ridden literally thousands of miles with her over the last couple of years, I've known for a while that she now has the judgment and skill to ride that particular familiar route. She knows her way around, has good control of the bike, is polite to other sidewalk users, and appears to have the proper amount of paranoia about cars making mistakes at intersections. So, when it seemed that I would be stuck at home waiting for the person who was coming to diagnose our annoyingly slow DSL line right when school got out, we decided to let her ride home on her own.
Imagine big wide happy Nimue eyes: "You mean you are going to let me ride home ALL BY MYSELF?" Needless to say, she liked this idea. She was a little nervous that morning, but still thought she should do it (and of course got lots of encouragment from me, Chad, and Linda, who happened to be visiting).
It turned out that the DSL guy finished just about exactly when I would have left to pick Nimue up, but I wanted to let her have the satisfaction of the small step towards independence. Mom disease reared its ugly head though, leading me to think maybe I should check on her, so I rode toward the school to meet her halfway. After a couple of minutes, a very cheerful, fast Nim on a red bike came charging down the sidewalk, stopped at the light, gave the driver who was thinking about turning right across the crosswalk a look to see that she could go, and came toward me to chatter about how great it was. What a good kid! She greeted me saying something like: It was so fun, why are you here? I rode toward Mary and saw you and thought "Is that my Mom or a middle schooler?" Chatter chatter chatter all the way home. "No really, from a block away, you could be a middle-schooler!" I'll take that as a compliment, I guess :)