my babies are graduating high school, one last saturday and one this coming wednesday.
this is a big deal.
I've been parenting for over 23 years, and although I won't stop being a parent, with these events my role changes dramatically. in a way, I'm done.
yesterday I rode up millcreek canyon. the upper half of the canyon is gated and closed to cars from november through june, and during those months the road is used by hikers, cyclists, walkers, dog-walkers, and when the road is covered with snow, skiers and snowshoers.
not long after I'd passed the gate and begun the second half of the climb, I noticed a little boy toddling along with his father, coming down the road.
it was still early in the morning and the sun was before me as I rode up the canyon, eastward. the dad was behind his son, his hands up above his head, thumbs entwined, hands together, and it hit me: he's making shadows on the road for his son.
I haven't made shadow pictures for my children in years and years.
my children haven't toddled down roads in years.
my children aren't children anymore.
it's been a long road.
there have been seemingly unending climbs, and gates. some swooping, a few crashes.
stunning vistas and bleak, gray mornings. ferocious winds, headwinds, tailwinds, crosswinds. astonishingly calm hours, easy flat stretches, gradual descents filled with coasting.
bumps, rises, uneven pavement, frost heaves, terrible patch jobs, litter in the lane.
sightings of wildlife, fear, pure joy, apprehension, loss.
rewards, accomplishments, peaks, certificates of completion, medals, hugs.
glorious unending tailwinds, crisp air, joyful descents.
and through it all, a constant commitment to pedaling.
we, like most every family out there, have had our ups and downs. it's virtually impossible to have one without the other. and we're now here at the next milestone, where paths spread before us, options, choices, decisions to be made. one of my daughters will soon be heading to the north northwest, and the other to the south south west.
and I'll be here, still pedaling. still being a parent, but in a very different way.
still pedaling up, still swooping, and always--forever--holding them in my heart with me as I pedal along whatever roads rise up to greet me.