Within the past two weeks, I seem to have hit my limit as a professional and then today as a mother. Having taken on a task that posed so many challenges that I have grown into with power, if not always grace, running at full tilt for over a year has taken its toll, and this week, I fell down sick and stayed there for days. Got up very very very behind in the race to finish before the political landscape changes and the aligned stars are replaced with less supportive or more petty lights.
And today, I missed my girl's first time on a bike, off at work to try to catch up on filling the financial hole that we are digging ourselves out of, having bought a new house to give each kid a room. By the time I got home in the evening and went out for a family bike ride, it was her second time - old hat. She breezed onto the bike, and I felt the breath of mother-need knocked out of me. Only to feel the weight of it crash back onto my chest when she dissolved into somewhat hysterical tears almost immediately when she got too close to the middle of the street.
We rode three blocks to a park. She fell once. She must have cried 4 times. When we got to the park, there were more hysterical sobs, and I found myself watching her almost as though I was out-of-body, as though she were a stranger and no one who I had any idea how to help. There's the start of a new learning curve! Like the swirl of yellow bricks that start a nightmare journey in a world suddenly in vivi-color, if not rational on any level, there it is. Where she's not just my kid anymore but this bundle of self-referential anxieties that have very little to do with me. That I have very little power to dispel or untangle. And I only just barely rose to the occasion, making it about learning a new skill, being patient with herself, looking for the fun. And when she finally laughed, smiled, found a bit of fun, I kissed her cheek, told her I was proud of her. That I was the most proud that she had calmed herself down and relaxed into fun. I'm proud of both of us.