As I looked out my kitchen window yesterday, I noticed a baby bird in the grass, under the big ole’ pine tree in our backyard. It appeared to have fallen out of its nest. While I looked on, its parents, a pair of common grackles, flew in and fed it. Then mama bird, or papa bird, moved back a few feet and called out. The baby bird hopped up in response, flapping its little wings. I watched in amazement at this family effort to teach the fledgling the basics of flight.
The baby grackle wasn’t the only one unfolding its wings yesterday. Earlier this week Lola announced out of the blue that she wanted her training wheels removed from her bike. She was ready to ride without them. Dressed in full-on protective gear, we set out to teach our girl how to ride. She didn’t realize it, but she caught on within seconds. Turning her bike was a little tricky though, and our little perfectionist was ready to quit when she didn’t get it right on her first try.
I remember my first bike ride. It was my sixth birthday and when I entered the living room there was a shiny red bicycle waiting for me. A friend taught me how to ride it that same day. She held on to my saddle for a minute or two and then let go. That was all there was to it. I can still picture the look of surprise on my mother’s face when I raced by. I had told Lola about this a few weeks ago, and I suspect that’s where her desire came from. But her experience wasn’t as rewarding as she thought it would be.
“I thought dad would hold on for two minutes and then it would be perfect,” she said to me, tears rolling down her cheeks.
Poor kid, blessed with her parents’ perfectionist genes. I don’t know why her first solo ride disappointed her so much she wanted to give up; it looked just about perfect to me. With a little prodding she was willing to get back on her bike and give a few more tries. And lo and behold, she did it. Racing up and down the street, she gave us a big grin. We still have to work a little bit on her right turn, but she mastered the basics yesterday.
When we returned to the house, I walked into the backyard to see how the baby grackle was getting along. He was nowhere to be found. I guess he mastered the basics, too.