I drove home tonight and happened to pass three girls, a mere year or two older than my eldest daughter. They walked slowly, sauntering, almost a careful gait. Arms close to their sides, swinging slightly.
When do little girls become so careful in their stride, so measured?
I think of the past summer and the one previous, when I would let my girls, shiny Toonies in hand, walk to the corner store for candy. They'd run, momentarily untethered by a mother still nervous about negotiating boundaries. They run, they'd skip, on rare occasions they might hold hands, or maybe that's this mothers nostalgia giving these recollections a Norman Rockwell patina.
When do little girls stop running?
My oldest, my blonde beauty, who still at times seems so young, so naive has begun to walk with the lazy, sauntering step of one who is navigating her way between childhood and preadolescence. She lags, without the same excitement of getting where she is going. In a few more years it will be sharp angles, hands on jutted hips, an eye-roll here and there.
My littlest still bounds ahead, still skips as her hair swings from side to side. There is no self-consciousness, just the journey ahead however short it may be, that promises newness.
My oldest still runs, from time to time, but only if no one is looking.
Why do we stop running? Why the importance in seeming unaffected? When do we lose the wonder in the journey, and worry only about arriving in style?