It's her cheeks I first see.

Cherry red in perfect circles, like beacons that beg for attention.

She goes back and forth

Up and down

Foot on foot off.

Determined. Happy. Oblivious.

She's been avoiding this bike for years.

Scared. Unsure. Bruised.

It's bested her one too many times, so she was happier with it hidden.

Until today.

As the wind whipped her hair into wild tangles

And turned her cheeks cherry red

She went back and forth

Up and down

Foot on foot off.

Focused. Deliberate. Self Conscious.

Until I moved from the window to the door.

Now she's glancing sideways to make sure I'm still there.

It's that glance that undoes her. 

It's that glance that makes her lose her balance.

She falls, but it's not her knees I'm worried about.

It's her.

Her belief that unless she can 'do it' I see failure.

That she's not enough.

Still she gets back up.

Back and forth.

Up and down.

Foot on foot off.

One eye on the sidewalk, one on me.

With each glance, she falters a bit more. She wobbles. Falls.

The tears fall fast and hard, and she flops into my arms.

Shaking. Shaken. Wet.

Then a whimper.

'I did it before, when you weren't there.

But I wanted to impress you, and I tried too hard.

I fell. I couldn't do it.'

Big girl words from a baby girl voice.

Words that rip right through a mama's heart.

Quiet. Clinging. Until finally, slowly, I whisper into one cherry red cheek.

'Don't you know, sweet girl, that you impress me

By just being you?'

She exhales. Relaxes. Hugs harder.

'I do now, mommy. I do.'

(This pic isn't of today; I couldn't pry myself away from the door to grab my phone and take a picture)

This post is my first time participating in Stream of Consciousness Sunday (#SOCSunday), which I learned about from stalking Erin on Twitter (I joke….kind of). The concept is cool; set a timer, write for five minutes, publish. No editing. Link up at Jana's Thinking Place and check back there for next week's theme. This week's is 'blessed'. I know this post isn't a literal interpretation, but any day spent with my girl qualifies as just that.