You got your first bike when you were four because you had started throwing tantrums and daddy said no way we’re not rewarding bad behaviour but I said he needs his freedom from the daycare kids in the back yard, he is getting older he needs to be allowed to do more, trusted to be a big boy, he is asking us to help him grow up, and so we went to town and you picked out a purple bike with handle bars that came up to daddy’s knee and white training wheels and plastic streamers in the hand grips and we put clickers in the spokes and a helmet on your head and you were allowed to ride from our house to three houses down and back again. You stopped throwing tantrums, and a year later daddy took the training wheels off and ran behind you, back and forth up and down, one hand on the back of the seat, on your back, on your helmet, hovering, hovering, until you looked back and saw him running beside you, look, look, no hands!
…your shout of glee, your sagging training pants and orange striped socks, joyful toddler leaping to daddy’s arms, flying across the open expanse between coffee table and couch without fear, without thought to falling, landing against daddy’s chest to bounce off and do it again and again and again, neither of you tiring until the last leap, ending in the inevitable knock on daddy’s head with tight fist, ‘body home? ‘body home? squealing with laughter as daddy knocked back “anybody home?” and then you lean in, slumping into daddy as he breaths in a slow breath of sweet toddler sweat as you rise and fall against the beating of his heart.