Saturday, August 14, 2010
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about balance. Mostly the kind of balance you don’t have Greta. We’ve been working really hard on trying to get you to walk: hooking you up to strange contraptions, binding your legs with bandages and braces of all sorts, squishing your feet into huge black orthotic Frankenstein shoes, and generally driving you nuts all day. Mostly you trot and bounce and jangle and lean and stagger and collapse into a heap of pissed off baby after a few steps. The thing is, it is clear you want to walk. It is clear you think you can walk. And it is clear you have no idea that you can, and will, fall. Hence you getting so angry at me when I insist you learn that gravity is real. So when you stumble and flail and I (gently) let you fall you cry with the pure tears of a baby with a broken heart. Balance isn’t really your strong suite.
I think about the other kind of balance too. The balance between mother and therapist. The heaviness of my heart when I see you clatter and scramble and twist into knots, looking like a drunk in bar at last call. How easy it would be to just pick you up. How hard it is to make you do it the right way over and over. How much my back hurts from following you around, bent at the waist, holding your hips and trying to get you to feel the floor beneath your feet. How painful it is to watch Gus and Jack run right past you and see your eager face as you try so hard to keep up. How much it hurts to hold you and feel you covered in sweat, sobbing in complete and total frustration at your limitations. How hard I hope that what I am doing helps. How much I wish I could just fix everything.
I think about the balance of time spent. About how many minutes I should spend forcing you to move in a certain way vs. how many minutes I should spend holding you while we look out the window and name trees. How many times I use the sign language we are trying to teach you and how many times I forget and just whisper in your ear. How many hours I spend at work vs. how many hours I spend at home. How hot it is in the car vs. how much you love to swim. Every day is a balancing act.
I think I usually come up short in this balancing act, and that is where you and I are the same. Gravity might be your enemy Greta, but mine is time. So maybe all I can tell you is that balance isn’t nearly as easy as it looks for anyone.