Grasses, San Diego
You know those days when we fall and can't manage to right ourselves again? I'm talking metaphorical falls here -- those days when one trip, a hiccup on any other day, turns into a series of cascading slips and slides until we finally land, not gracefully, ending the day with a thump or a bang, or a slow run-down stop, the energy wrung out of us?
I had one of those days today. I'm not sure how it started, or why. There's lack of sleep to blame, and hormones, and the fact that everyone in my family has some mysterious semi-illness that's made us all more tired and cranky than usual. There's the state of my house, which is messy. There's the fact that I missed Zumba class this morning, which gets my blood flowing so nicely on a Saturday morning at 8:00, because I was too tired from being up a lot with the baby last night and the night before and the night before. There's always reasons for this kind of day. But that doesn't explain why today became a series of moments of overwhelm, of holding back tears, while other days with similar reasons do not.
Some days I can right myself; some I cannot. And as I sit here in my darkened living room, the children finally and blessedly asleep, drinking water out of one glass and sipping cold milk out of another, I'm wondering what these days are meant to teach us. Perhaps their purpose is to give us compassion when we walk among those people who cannot right themselves, ever. Perhaps it is to help us see how to do it better the next day. Or perhaps it is just to give us appreciation for when we can pick ourselves back up again, and for the people who stand by us, not too close and not too far away, sometimes offering a hand up and other times just witnessing our gracelessness and holding their tongues. Only occasionally laughing out loud while we curse our own clumsiness and the unfairly slippery sidewalks we must walk.
Maybe you don't understand this post. Maybe you think I've got two left feet and should invest in some more stable shoes. Or maybe you do. Maybe you have your own days when your footing feels uncomfortably slick. I know my little guy gets it. He's got a black eye that no one remembers him getting, himself included, a mysterious rash on the backs of his legs, some abrasion on the back of his neck, and from 6 a.m. until 3 p.m. he was stuck in a mood I call "permafuss." Then at 3, the clouds that were darkening his little brow suddenly lifted, and he became sunny again, more or less.
I don't know where he gets his moodiness from. Really, I don't.
Me & Elan at 17 months, April 2008, San Diego