Since virtually the start of the school year, mornings that I drop Connor and Helen at school go like this.
I don Helen's backpack and then Connor tosses on his backpack, runs out to the shed, grabs his bike, and tells me good-bye and I love you as he flies down the driveway on his own to school. I wave and tell him I love him and wish him a great day. I tell him I'll lock his bike when I get to school.
I get Helen's bike out of the shed, make sure her bike lock and Connor's bike lock are in the bike basket, she drops her headband in the basket, and then I position the bike at the top of the driveway. Helen waits there for a moment while I run down the driveway and when the road is empty, shout "all clear". This is her cue to get peddling as fast as she can. She heads down the driveway and then directly up a hill. It's a big hill, and at first, she could only make it a house or two before needing a push. Now, she can get over halfway up without assistance, and I'm confident in a week or two she'll be nailing it the whole way. I run beside Helen giving her a boost when needed, and then run ahead of her at intersections so I can shout "all clear" once more. (This avoids having her lose momentum, assuming the road is all clear.) Helen rides to the crosswalk by school, hops off her bike, and then I walk it across the street and she hops back on to get to the bike racks. I lock both bikes as Helen waits, and then we hold hands and walk into school together.
Until this morning, that is.
This morning, she grabbed her backpack once we got to school and shouted "I don't need you anymore, Mom".
And off she went. I walked beside her until she got to the door anyway (that's the way I have to go to get back home) and told her she could just pretend she didn't know me. She laughed, and then skipped into the building, high-fiving the gym teachers that greet students every morning.