A lovely moment this morning:

I’m out on a run, heading home. The heat and humidity today are pretty brutal, all the worse because we had a cool June and I’m not acclimated. The back half of the loop I’m running is mostly uphill — not steep but endless and slow. I’m trudging along, sweating buckets, draining glucose, and wondering why I don’t choose hobbies that include air conditioning.

Up ahead I hear a whoop. A little caravan approaches. A barely post-toddler kid (maybe 4) on a scooter tearing down the hill. Just behind him follows his older brother (maybe 6?) on a bike. Both are yelling and pedaling/pushing for all they’re worth. Big smiles, squinting eyes, blowing hair. Wooooooooo!! FASTER!

Mom (I assume?) brings up the rear on her sensible adult bike, shouting warnings that — she’s pretty sure — are futile. ‘Be careful on the bridge! Watch the bumps! It’s slippery!’ She winces as I pass and I see her pray that her band of pirates doesn’t run me over. There’s a lot I can hear in her voice — maybe feeling the same things I do when I follow my kid on her bike. She’s slightly terrified, slightly out of control, feeling all of the responsibility at once, but also laughing.

In that picture, I’ve been the kid, discovering how great it feels to go super fast with the wind in your face. I’ve also been the parent, barely keeping it together but also, maybe, enjoying the chaos just a little.