writing

Finding Balance

My youngest is learning how to balance while sitting.

That sounds really simple. And it is. For me.

I’ve done all sorts of things while sitting, many of which would be boring to list. But most of them involve multiple tasks. For example, I’ve eaten while typing while nursing a baby. Easy.

But watching my youngest put all that in a new perspective.

First, he was thrilled simply with being upright. That gave him a big smile right there.

Then came the feet. He had them. And they were fascinating. He patted them while trying to keep from rolling to one side or the other. This was very carefully done and also made him proud.

After he was done with his feet, he noticed he had legs. And he could also pat them. Or smack them. Which caused him to lose his balance.

That time, I caught him as he started to roll onto his side. He gave me a huge grin.

I was the one who decided to make things difficult. I gave him a plastic block big enough he wouldn’t choke on it, but not too big for him to grab. And it had rocks in it! Plastic ones, but still, they rattled! This gave him much delight and he waved his arms frantically for a moment and somehow managed to keep his balance. At that point, he didn’t care. He wanted the block.

He grabbed it and began to examine it. Slowly. Turning it this way and that, his brow furrowed, he softly practiced his consonants as he studied the item in his hands before stuffing it in his mouth. Frowning, he shook it very hard, this time practicing his vowels at a much louder volume.

And as I watched him, I realized just how difficult everything he’s doing is.

Through all that, he was trying to stay upright, no matter what I gave him, no matter what he tried to do, no matter what happened. And I realized I’m trying to do the same thing, though with a completely different set of skills. I’m trying to stay balanced while doing all my other roles. Sometimes, I’m going to fail and either someone will catch me or it’ll hurt really, really bad and I’ll have to work harder at not falling next time, even though I know I will.

The way to handle this is not to beat myself up or mope around the house. The way to handle this is the way my son does. He laughs and moves on. Granted, someone is there to catch him, but still, he expresses his emotion of the moment, then goes back to his current objective, whatever that may be. And that, I realize, is the heart of balance: continuing to move in spite of opposing forces.

Now, I just have to apply this new knowledge. Wish me luck!

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