She gets back up, she sings, she pedals

Oct 05

She gets back up, she sings, she pedals

I’m sitting here with two skinned knees. The kind that I’ve put band-aids on for my kids innumerable times in the last nine years with not as much compassion as I should have shown: I forgot how much they sting. Specific feelings always generate associated memories and meanings for me, so I have been remembering some good times (albeit embarassing): a particularly bad bike crash, a finish line collapse at the end of a pre-season volleyball training run, and a oh-crap-did-anyone-see-that incident on the concrete steps of Miami University’s McGuffey Hall. It’s funny the things we remember and the reasons we remember them.  It’s such a reminder to me to get back up, a little wiser, a little humbled, and scars to remember the trek.

My skinned knees do not have an interesting story: I missed a curb, the result of rushing, not paying enough attention, and I was carrying a full plastic bin of Happy Thought Bubbles when I fell. I was happy my knees took the hit rather than the glass. (Though the HTBs got a jolt, they didn’t break–a testimony to the resiliency of hand-blown glass.  On that note, my mom and I both have small glass pumpkins if anyone is looking for holiday decor or gifts.)

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The Cincinnati family worked an art sale for a few hours weekend, and it was fun.  Maren loves glass, art, creativity, and the whole scene around it.  She takes it all in with her big blue eyes and it’s so interesting to hear what she comments on.  In a pseudo-similar vein, Rozzinator took her to the Broadway production of The Sound of Music last week, and she loved it.  She woke up singing the songs the next morning and gave me a much-more-detailed-than-usual rundown of her experience.  I read her chapter books aloud a few nights a month and it’s fascinating to see how she reads the character and plot: it’s our own intimate book club.  All of this combined is insight into the depth of both personality and character she is developing; she is delightful company.

Maren received a compliment award at her school: “Maren never laughs at others’ misfortunes, even when in a book that is being read aloud. She is very caring and treats all humans with respect.” This is so very true of Maren and I’m besotted that she got such a specific praise from an astute observer. Her school (the staff) is amazing.

Yesterday I took Greta’s training wheels off her bike and we logged some laps back and forth on the wide side walk in front of our house. As with most things in life, Greta is a hoot to watch. She’s so expressive that it is extra fun to see her feelings of fear, anticipation, pride, excitement, and anxiety wash over her as she goes. My nerd self and my athlete self both show up: I talk to my five-year-old about the physics and explain momentum, whilst charging hunched-over alongside her. After painstakingly showing her how to ready her feet: one foot pedal at the top and the other supporting her on the ground I say, “Tell me when you’re ready G-meister.”

She says, “Okay. Wait for me to say ‘Go!’ Okay, Mom, okay.” She takes a deep breath and sets her face in a determined, anxious grin, “Okay. Okay Mom, okay.” She eyes the route in front of her, “Okay.” “Okay, okay,” as she wiggles around on the seat, “Okay, okay, okay. Okay. Go!”

And off we go. And I really want to know what she’s thinking about through all those ‘okay’s’. I do know that she will get it when she’s ready, and then she will fly.


  1. Marlayne /

    Jen Oh Jen ~
    LOL 🙂 I am not laughing at you or even w/you ~ I am thinking I need to get back up, sing & pedal!!!! You do it so well 🙂
    I took my Granddaughters to see the Sound of Music last Sunday (Making Wonderful Memories)
    I love the pumpkins ~ I would love to purchase some, along w/a few Happy Thought Bubbles ~ How do I go about doing that? I went online last year; however, I believe I didn’t do something correct or it was too close to Christmas 🙁
    Hugs & More Hugs 🙂

  2. Kim Rourke /

    A smile for my Wednesday! Thanks! I can imagine Maren on the edge of her theater seat and Greta testing her wings on her bike. You paint the pictures beautifully!

  3. Jen, your posts are so insightful and I love hearing about the adventures of the girls.
    I would love to get two of the pumpkins. Let me know how we can do this. One all orange and the other the fall colored one.

  4. Mommaj /

    Love this story….. I have a few of those ungracious falling moments of my own!! What more can you do….. Get up and keep on trudging with a grin ?.. Jen, you are the best!! Pumpkin bubbles, how delightful, IF it isn’t too late I would love a couple. Have a great day ?

  5. Cindy Mitchell /

    I hate to hear that you fell, been there, and never too young to do it a few more times… We just get up, rub it off and go on.. Just like learning to ride our bikes… I bet it was so cute to see .. take care Jen and have a great day. Oh and Thanks for your story.

  6. Kelly Burns /

    Oh was that you at McGuffey years ago?! Haha…kidding 🙂 I love hearing stories about your girls. What fun personalities they both have!!