Saturday, April 9, 2016

And I thought the C-Section Was Hard

61 days.

1464 hours.

87,840 minutes.

5,270,400 seconds.

Until Teenager # 1 graduates High School.

And, in true form, he continues to make it, to put it diplomatically, interesting.

To put it undiplomatically, he makes it more painful than the c-section that started all this.

But this is just another hurdle in the absurdly long track event of parenting. It all began with the seemingly impossible wait to actually get pregnant. A wait that, in fact, was only six months; but to parents who finally decided it was time, each passing month that yielded a minus on the pee-stick began the coining of what would become an ongoing fill in the blank phrase "if we could only get... "


And pregnant we got. Then hideously nauseous we got. "If we could only get past the first trimester."

Then a week past due date we got; then induced, then two hours of pushing, then the aforementioned c-section we got. "If we could only get recovered from the c-section."

Then a beautiful baby we got as well as several years of what constitutes as almost normal. Until probably the second year of Pre-school when we heard the first mention of "he's very active" in a teacher conference. "If we could only get past this feeling that the use of the word active is a euphemism."

And then each year it was "If we could only get through this teacher conference."

"If we could only get through this play therapy"

"If we could only get through this school year."

"If we could only get through this trip to the grocery store."

"If we could only get through this game."

"If we could only get through this school year."

"If we could only get through this holiday dinner."

"If we could only get through exams."

"If we could only get through this school year"

"If he could only get into college."

"If he could only decide on a college."

"If he could only graduate high school."

It didn't take long to realize that this hurdle race is perversely infinite.

Hurdles have always amazed and terrified me. Not the metaphorical kind mentioned above, but actual hurdles.  The beauty of the race is absolute, the skill of the runners akin to gorgeous gazelles, and it all begins with a literal leap of faith. I can only imagine what it feels like to stare down that hurdle the first time you try to scale it, even with all the technique that has been passed on, in that moment it comes down to trust and guts.

The good thing is, my husband ran hurdles in high school so I consulted him. (He also holds the record for the worst hurdling accident in his school's history, an unexamined irony perhaps best left untouched). So, I asked him what is involved, and found it is all about technique, knowing how many steps you need to take and finding your own rhythm. The amount of steps varies from runner to runner depending on the length of their stride. So, though the technique is uniform, the execution is individual. He also informed me that the biggest obstacle is not the hurdle, but hesitation and doubt. In effect it is all about rhythm, knowing yourself, reps and commitment.

Since I am programmed to find metaphor even in a trip to the bathroom, the leap here is not obtuse. Each hurdle is preceded by steps; if you take those steps, the hurdle is scaleable. If you approach the hurdle with fear and doubt, your race will be rife with panic and dread. If you approach each hurdle with preparation, trust and a sense of adventure--well then gazelles, watch out.

And now, after 18+ years, it is time to stop saying "if we could only..." From now on, when I look down this indeterminate track, I will not see hurdles, I will see texture, surprise and possibility. When I trip, I will cry, and then laugh at myself, sip from my water bottle filled with Pinot, fortify with my trail mix made from Goldfish crackers and peanut butter Twix bars, and reset.

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