Tuesday, April 17, 2012

All Wrapped Up With A Bow

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."             --Winston Churchill

 It's strange how it happens...how literally one day you feel the hopelessness, the frustration and the undeniable truth -- it's just never going to happen.  You can insert whatever blank you want to in there...it's never going to happen that I: meet the right guy, get pregnant, find a job, finish school, figure out where to live, finish that giant project or in my case -- watch Patrick tie his shoes.

Yesterday, if you would have asked me when it was going to happen I would have said: "He's close, really close, but we've been close for months.  I just don't think it's going to happen.  At least not for awhile."

Somehow, because my heart went there yesterday, it's almost as if the universe wanted to prove its unpredictability.  Sure, Beth, close yourself off.  Believe it's not going to happen and then just watch for tomorrow's little ray of sunshine.  You can't will your heart to believe other things.  Sometimes, almost every time, it needs a little lesson in recognizing the miraculous.

Today is THE day!  Patrick tied his shoes all on his own.  I heard the yelling from another room: "Mom!  Mom!  Come quick!  I did it!" He had his shoe up on the coffee table and he was just gazing at his accomplishment. "I did it, mom!"  His face full of satisfaction and pride was undeniable. My heart could not get over the stunning revelation.  But yesterday? Yesterday it was not meant to be.  Today is THE day!

I had purchased Patrick's tennis shoes unwillingly.  I didn't want shoes that tied.  I wanted a velcro closure.  Mornings are hard and I wanted easy.  But, there were no velcro options in his size and I knew it was about time to force the shoe-tying issue and well, maybe I thought, this was a sign.  So, I put my game face on and told Patrick that we would be tying shoes this year.  He interpreted this to mean that I would be tying his shoes this year...um, not so much.  So every morning, Patrick begins the process and I do my best cheerleader impression:  "You can do it!  You're almost there.  Look!  You're so close. Just wrap around slowly."  You get the idea.  90% of the time, Patrick begins.  He has a great start, gets stuck in the loop wrapping and gets frustrated.  Occasionally, he will patiently deal with my hands over his hands showing him how. Once in awhile he will watch me tie it all the way but most of the time he just sighs with regret and looks away.  The accomplishment seemingly out of reach.

Lately, I've been finding Caroline tying his shoes.  Yes, that little bugger who learns so easily and adores her brother is happy to swoop in and do him a secret favor.  They hid it from me for about two days until I noticed Caroline's extreme helpfulness and King Patrick enjoying his servant. Busted!

So, I've been on shoe patrol -- making sure I was around when the process began and renewing my energy and enthusiasm for the prospect of finally mastering a difficult task.  After all, it is April.  If we don't get on it now, summer might come and force us into shoes that don't tie and all momentum might be lost. I redoubled my zeal and continued like the slow drip of a stalactite...bit by bit, determined to get this done.  But you can't force someone to learn and you can't teach an unwilling student so I knew I couldn't want it too bad.  As soon as it became my issue, I knew Patrick would back off. I had to find a balance of nonchalance and commitment.

It all came together today.  The dozen or so micro steps in tying a shoe were done in the right order, with the right amount of tension in the lace and with the belief that the tying was going to happen.  Like magic, it did.

Today, everybody in my house can tie their shoes which means that every single person can also tie a bow on a gift or decorate anything they would like to with a bow.  Today my day came wrapped with three bright bows of determination, persistence and accomplishment. I'm going to savor April 17, 2012.  Sweet victories all three.

1 comment:

  1. Both your posts on shoes have made me smile and cry and feel determined to tackle something new. I am so proud of Patrick!