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Today was Harvey's 5-year doctor check up. I'd been prepping him for a few days in advance, reminding him that he'd have to take off his clothes and that the doctor would look in his eyes. Last year's visit featured so much screaming and shaking I was debating whether there were actually negative health effects of seeing a doctor. But Harvey is a year older now, and when I told him this morning we were going to the doctor he remarked, "I think I'll be brave this time."

Then he added, "If I'm brave I can probably watch a show when I get home. Good idea?"

Whatever helps Harvey be brave is a good idea in my book. And indeed, today's visit was a wonder to behold. Harvey conversed easily with both the nurse and the doctor, enough to pass his vision and hearing tests (a thing I hadn't thought to prep him for) and enough to tell the doctor that he doesn't really eat broccoli. There was a moment when he tried to hide from the shots (an understandable response) but once he was on my lap he didn't flail or scream, and there were no tears when the needles went in. He more than earned his medel of bravery. As I type this he is downstairs watching Bob the Builder.

Harvey must have felt pretty pleased with himself coming out of the doctor's office, because as he put on his bike helmet to go home he asked, "Can I bike home by myself?"

"You mean without me following?" I asked.

He nodded his head.

I didn't know quite how to feel in that moment. My heart leapt once in my chest, up and down, in a simultaneous expression of anxiety and pride. Then I asked myself what Dan would say.

"Let's cross the big street together," I said. "Then you can bike the rest of the way by yourself."

We all crossed South Road together. From there it was just a quarter of a mile to our house, with only two crosses, a driveway of an office park and the entrance to a rather quiet street. Harvey crossed the office park first when he was about fifteen feet away from me. I saw him look very cautiously into the parking lot before he went out. He picked up speed after he made it to the other side, and I thought of calling for him to wait, but I had just lauded him so much for being brave I didn't want to "buy it back" with my own anxiety. Harvey sped along towards home. I watched him come to the road crossing now, too far away now for me to jump in and save him. He stopped his bike completely and looked both ways. He started to go and then stopped again. I wondered if he was going to stop completely and wait for me to come. He looked back to see where I was. Maybe he wanted me to be closer and maybe he was glad he'd gotten so far ahead. At any rate he turned back to the street, looking both ways a second time. I held my breath and prayed to Jesus to keep him safe. Harvey sped across the crossing, and zoomed around the corner, and disappeared out of my sight.

I called Dan and told him Harvey was headed home before me. Dan said he'd be on the lookout.

A minute later I rounded the corner myself, delayed by a tantruming Zion. I scanned the sidewalk up ahead and saw Harvey almost at our street, a tiny dot in the distance, frantically pedaling out his freedom.

A tear came to my eye. It wasn't because Zion was hitting me. I have never been so proud of Harvey in all my life.

Then a large gray van pulled up beside me. "Are you missing a toddler on a bike?" the woman in the passenger seat asked. They had passed Harvey, freaked out, and turned around looking for a responsible adult.

My first thought was: toddler? Really? He's five years old and 89% percentile for height!

"He's mine," I explained, still beaming from my pride. "He's biking home by himself. He's practicing being brave." That probably should have been enough information, but to cover my DSS bases I added: "We live just around the corner and my husband is waiting at the door for him. Thank you so much for checking."

"Oh good," the woman sighed with relief, "I was worried." Then her face brightened. "Hey, go little guy!"

It took me another five minutes to get home. By the time I got there I was anxious to see how Harvey made out. I peaked around the car and saw the sign I was looking for, his bike discarded in the front drive.

the sight that means everything's okay. Buckets thrown in as bonus.

And suddenly I had a flashback to my youth, riding in my parent's car, rounding the corner of Butler Ave and seeing Dan's green bike on the front lawn. I remember the jump of my heart when I saw that bike, the excitement that we were both home at the same time, the anticipation that I'd soon be seeing my favorite person in the world.

And now I have two favorite bikers, the original and his miniature. As Harvey grows out of his mama-given genes he is faster every day, more independent, and of course brave.

Harvey shows off his doctor-given bandaids

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