Falling, Failing and other fun F words….
Babies help us remember a LOT of essential truths that can get lost in the growing up (and old) process if we aren’t super careful. Recently, after a particularly gruelling fit camp, I was leaving class and walking down six very modest concrete steps outside the gym. My legs, rubbery with exertion, almost buckled under the effort. I doubt falling down them would have been horrific, but damage would have been done. Grabbing the handrail, I steadied myself and managed to make it to my car. A reasonable person would be concerned about the impact of the fall. At my age a broken hip isn’t out of the question. But me? I was much more concerned about what others would think of me and how I would look as I tumbled.
Babies don’t worry about falling so long as we don’t ruin them with unnecessary gasps of concern. Our little guy stands on legs that are definitely sturdy looking but are not particularly stable. Often he wriggles and wobbles and eventually crashes onto his bottom. Frankly, my grandbaby FAILS a lot. He doesn’t know how to chew very well. It takes a grandparent to understand the difference between his word for ‘ball’, ‘bottle’ and ‘bam’. (Don’t worry – I’ve got it down.) He loves going to the pool but fails to understand the concept of playing in the pool without imitating his dogs back home by lapping at the water. He can be kind of a mess. But in all these things, we simply cheer and clap and give thanks. All of this feels like a gift and we receive it with gratitude. His clumsy chewing is a big developmental milestone, not cause for alarm. Any spoken word at his age results in affirmation from his peanut gallery. Falling down, failing to articulate clearly – all good. Because with babies WE GET IT! It is never about perfection, it is always about presence!!
It is so easy to get focused on failing and miss the joy in every life journey. Disappointment with life, ourselves and others is such a waste of energy – but we spend a lot of time on it, don’t we? Are we willing to accept a bit more joy along the way? I hadn’t been so willing a while back, and it brought significant negative consequences – including an assault on my physical health. A life without joy is a life at-risk.
To be continued…