September 30, 2014 § 6 Comments
When you were first born the moments between your birth and our introductions were an impossibility of hurried anticipation. You were so long a part of me that I felt unfamiliar alone, the cradle of my arms vast and hollow in your absence. When at last I could marvel over the perfection of your familiarity I squandered endless moments memorizing the lines of your emotions, unguarded in your innocence.
I still look to the shape of your posture and the melody of your gait for the truth of your experiences. I do this with your sister, too, but I learned this language with you. Even now, as you preserve thoughts and dreams for yourself, I read the untold worry and barely contained enthusiasm in a language you do not know you speak.
There is an often stubborn angle to your shoulders, an amusing indignation reminiscent of your toddler self, assured and undeterred in your persistence. You wear love with the unguarded bright eyes of newborn devotion that boasts loudly and unapologetically of loyalty. Humor and harm are more fleeting sentiments, sketched in dimples and furrowed brows that punctuate the truth of your tenderness.
I think of our first day on so many end of school days, waiting for a delayed hello as I wonder at the story behind the swing of your limbs and marvel, still, at the miracle of love that we cannot name and yet read so fluently without language.
September 29, 2014 § 5 Comments
Yesterday my daughter participated in her first 5k. The day began with a celebratory spirit and heightened anticipation, friends fell in and out of animated conversations as the crowd waited eagerly on the cusp of a fluid, infectious energy.
As a family we cheered from the sidewalks of our neighborhood, marking our daughter’s path as she wound her way through Sunday morning sunshine. When at last she rounded the corner to our home in the final lap, she tossed herself heavily onto our driveway and planted her hands and feet flat against the familiar surface. Red faced and aching, she listed the tender places of her body ready to remove herself from the day’s event.
It was a moment so familiar to the experience of mothering; reaching for a child mindful of a fall, eyes and heart spotting dangers they cannot see as they leap. To let my daughter walk away from finishing would undermine her beginning, leaving too much room for remorse and messages of inability. Instead I reached out for a hand that accepted my own and we walked toward the end together.
To my daughter,
Your distance was shy of finishing, but I was measuring a different span; the space between giving up and persisting. Beginning something new is as important as finding your way to finishing something difficult. Soon the sore muscles will subside, but you will remember the sense of accomplishment that comes from completing a commitment. Each ending builds courage for our next beginning.
September 24, 2014 § 11 Comments
This day, tiresomely burdened with worries and uncertainties, doubts and hope all too cumbersome to be contained by logic left me dangling from the end of an imaginary seesaw craving the feel of earth beneath my feet while dreading the fall.
Like a child peering at the familiar from a borrowed perspective, there were so many little things that sparkled beneath a more intentional gaze. Stuck, immobile as I hovered between crisis and confidence, I looked to unexceptional details for direction as I chose my path.
It is a messy kind of wonderful the too often disregarded details of average days. Dishes that pile inside the belly of the sink while we squander early morning moments. Evening tasks bookmarked between the pages of a new bedtime story. Things that cannot be ignored forsaken for a moment that cannot be recaptured.
The fall from worries to wonder stole my breath and I felt the firmness of the ground beneath me as I pushed once more against the sky.
September 21, 2014 § Leave a comment
I wish I could press my finger against a moment and keep time from pushing us so quickly into the next distraction; I would sit a little longer on the sidelines of your last game. Over the past three weeks you have grown from lost to found. The doubts that kept you so firmly rooted in place were missing yesterday from your form. Watching you chase after the game and track the ball, moving between plays, there was a lightness of self and fullness of presence.
Post-game you had the infectious energy of someone too soon extracted from an experience. Tired and proud you didn’t linger boastfully over the win, but rather shuffled funny insights from the field. You rattled off nicknames and playbacks, injuries and inside jokes while stripping off shoes and shin guards. The uniform remained.
This alone, your team colors, best represents the evolution of your experience.
After your first game you quickly shed and scattered your uniform into the forgotten discards that litter your room. You washed the experience from the day and cloaked yourself in emotions that fought for freedom from an uncomfortable commitment.
One week later your uniform became a badge of honor, evidence that you were part of something. Uncertain in your position but certain in your placement among your teammates. It was the first time you wouldn’t remove your team colors.
This past week your jersey traveled to school and became a new marker for self, a symbol of belonging, and a hallmark around our home. Late Friday night I was washing it in anticipation of yesterday’s game.
Belonging doesn’t happen independently of challenges or uniquely by way of happiness. You have created a place for yourself with effort and accountability, determination and persistence. It has been complicated and uncomfortable, confusing and even overwhelming. Without natural talent or experience, you have had to create trust by showing up to each practice ready to work and willing to learn.
Similarly, success is often a collective endeavor measured by individual growth. Your coach could have allowed you to hide on the sidelines as easily as we, your parents, could have offered you escape. Instead we stand on either side of the same field, looking for strength without ignoring error.
We are only halfway through this new endeavor and I anticipate there will be more challenges as you grow more fully into this experience. Remember, win or lose, it is enough to watch you play the game.
September 12, 2014 § 6 Comments
These past few weeks I have found myself happily entangled in accidental good fortune, bound to individuals whose place in my life informs a wealth of possibility. I see the boldness of this fiber connecting chance and destiny to gift me wisdom and patience, strength and community; the richness of each invitation so subtle I might have overlooked the fullness of fate’s offering had my attention been otherwise guided. Today I am pausing to give thanks for the intricate path of life that presents us with moments of choreographed chaos and uncluttered clarity.
September 7, 2014 § 6 Comments
I’ve been writing your sister more often of late, but my mind holds a space for you despite the deceptive inequality of letters. I see you struggling a bit to find your way, the determined quiet that speaks to your ever evolving independence. I collect your stories and note your choices, suffer your worries and applaud your conviction, temper my counsel with familiar boundaries.
I am standing a little further in your shadow, still ever mindful of your experiences. The truth is, some days the best I can do is offer you less. There are mistakes and accomplishments more fully measured without my presence tugging the scale in one direction or another. Pieces of your story that must be written in your hand.
I’m still here.
September 6, 2014 § 8 Comments
This morning was your first soccer game. Until today your frame of reference for the sport was limited to Kindergarten drills and gym class scrimmages. Your enthusiasm for this new experience was based more in an excuse to spend time with a friend than a newly recognized passion for the game. Still, I was proud of your willingness to be uncomfortable and unknowledgeable, to risk failing in an attempt to succeed, to be a part of something larger than yourself.
I anticipated you might play poorly and I secretly wished you a natural inclination that could compensate for the absence of experience. What I didn’t expect was to find my shortcomings centerfield from the sidelines. You were lost and still, overwhelmed and hiding in plain sight. Each gesture of confusion was both genuine and dismissive, I could feel you attempting to shed the experience even as it unfolded around you.
Your teammates were struggling against other children, but you were struggling against yourself.
You may never play soccer again after this season, but you will undoubtably find yourself in new experiences confronted with familiar fears. I understand the temptation to hide behind excuses, to avoid discomfort; these are my ghosts.
No one is perfect. Each of us possess unique strengths and inopportune insecurities that inform our choices. My greatest regrets rest in moments of paralysis when I allowed my path to be shaped by the actions of those around me, bending to my doubts. Even my most colorful, public errors of assertion are rights of passage; proof that I have not forfeited my right to grow and learn in the face of uncertainty. It is a far greater loss to fail at trying; a hollow victory to succeed without effort.
Win or lose, you have to play the game.