Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Falling Down

Caroline loves to roller blade.
Most mornings she puts them on first thing and as soon as she is home from school, 
they are back on her feet.  
She's content to roll around the kitchen and living room in and endless loop.

She roller blades outside in the back yard.  
She insists that it is "blading" and always corrects me if I ask her to take her skates off.
She eats dinner with them on.
She does homework with them on.
She reads books or watches TV and forgets that she has something attached to her body.

She's a wee bit obsessed.

Her happiest time of the day is when we walk our dog, Buddy.
She can rollerblade through the neighborhood at supersonic speed.
She hunches over like a roller derby queen and speeds up and goes as fast as her risky self will allow --
which is awful fast to an onlooking mom.

She's gotten I said, they're beginning to just be a part of her body.
She is now practicing tricks -- like jumping over cracks in the sidewalk, or doing the
ice-skating maneuver of the one-leg-in-the-air-glide.
She's confident and proud.

And then a tiny stick got in her way.

She loves this one driveway we pass each day.
It has a big U-shaped driveway and she whizzes up one side of the U and spins and
whizzes down the other the side at top notch speed.  
One time she did it 11 times back and forth...even I was getting dizzy.
And then the unthinkable happened...she bit the dust.

It wasn't a horrible wipe-out as wipe outs go -- but she got a sizable scrape on the side of her belly and nothing else...but a big ole sense of what just happened?
She was shocked.  Stunned.  
Mortified and mad.

She was quiet as she roller-bladed home -- defeated -- and I couldn't yet tell just how injured she was so I didn't push.
At the injury inspection I made a comment about how it wasn't that bad...but she couldn't even respond.
Big, heaving, gasping cries came over her.
Tears and more tears.

I tried to cajole her into the go.
Tried to be soothing and understanding...not working.
I tried the brush-off -- really, kid, you're good...complete flop.
Then I just picked her up and undressed her and plopped a wailing, inconsolable kid into the tub.

She resisted the water, not wanting her scrape to sting, but I insisted, 
which only amped up the situation.

I noticed her forehead...speckled with red splotches like she used to get as an infant after crying really hard...and I tried to tell her it was all going to be okay...back to soothing as an option.

Finally, she leaned back into the water and let it all comfort her and released that soggy sigh that all people release after that final burst of crying, but somehow with kids it tends to be the checkered flag.  We made it.

I tried to help her notice it..."Look, Caroline, you made it over the hump.  You're going to be OK."

A tiny voice and tear-filled bue eyes looked up, 
"I think it was a stick." she reflected.

"It might have been, baby.  But, you need to know that the reason you like roller-blading is partly because of this right here.  You enjoy it because you feel excited.  You know you could fall down.  You accept that part...and you love when you don't."

"But sometimes you do."

"And then, you just have to get back up...and try again."

She slowly got out of the tub.
I snuggled my fresh-from-the-tub-girl -- a treat that rarely happens anymore.
I held her for the briefest of moments and treasured this chance.
I'm so grateful to be able to help her up and comfort her...
I hate it when they fall...
any of them.any.time.

But isn't that where so much of the real learning happens?

We all fall down.
We must get back up.
There really is no choice.

We can cry and scream and blame the stick but it doesn't matter...we will fall.
It's what happens after the fall that matters.

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