Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Running the wall. | #TransatlanticTuesdays

#TransatlanticTuesdays is a collaboration between me (in the UK) and Kera who blogs at The Special Reds (in the US) - sharing our journeys in the form of letters to one another.

Links to play catch up are at the end of this post.


Dear Kera

The irony of your last letter about walking on eggshells has not been lost on me - by missing out a week you've hit Easter right on the noggin. Impressively timed, my friend!

But hang on - those eggshells you're talking about aren't exactly of the colorful hide-and-go-seek variety, are they? No. These block your path and scratch and poke and draw blood. They crackle underfoot and awaken the monster in the cave. I feel you. It's a jagged old pitted road some days and all the head shaking and tutting outsiders throw at you neither stops the issues that cause it, nor helps you around the difficult situation. Sometimes humankind leaves out the 'kind' part and I wonder how much 'human' is left in its absence.

Despite that stranger shade coming your way, I have never seen you in action but from what I can tell I expect that you handle those situations with grace and serenity, even when your insides are churning round like a tsunami. And on occasion, if you're like me, you get home and bawl your eyes out. And that's ok too. Tears cleanse.

Anyway, not only are those eggshells causing us a bit of bother but so too are the walls we hit. You've laid out a great question for me: "I talked about how I hit a wall last year. Have you hit your wall? Have you ever felt spent as a mother? What helps, (or helped) you overcome this?"

Because I'm training for a marathon, the first wall I thought of on reading that question is that which you hit as a runner when your body is empty of fuel. I recently had such a ridiculously difficult run that I'd felt as if I hadn't just hit that proverbial wall, but that I'd actually been running along it. And that leads me back to your question - I think I can say the same holds true in my life and role as a mom - I haven't run into a wall, I run along the wall.

Man, even typing the phrase 'my role as a mom' - well, I've just paused and looked hard, and thought 'really? I'm someone's mother?' Because in the same vein in which I used to feel like a great pretender when it comes to running, I often feel pretty substantially crap as a parent. I question if I'm getting it right, more often than not feel as if I could have done something better than I have. Did I miss an opportunity? Should I have involved other people in Rukai's development? Would he be farther along than he is?


We cannot go back and change our decisions, but some days after clinging to the positive and holding it all together for the outside world to see, I lie in my bed and unravel. And still there are knots that just don't go. In sleep I gather all the threads and begin to weave tomorrow's leg of the journey. Sometimes I need to tie a grappling hook to that rope and hoist myself back on the wall, but I run it, I run it, I run it.

I try not to look down.

I run along that wall every day, and the only thing that determines which side of that wall I come down on each night is the progress I've seen. I need to know Rukai is moving. I need to know he's learned something, he's registered growth. That is my job as a mother, and nothing else I do matters more.

Like you, the writing helps me work through it but it works in tandem with all the running. The stronger I feel mentally and physically the better I am for my son. I have to be my best me so I can help him succeed. Is this not why we have kids in the first place? The commitment to ensure they dream big and live life to the full. Their personal full, not someone else's.

I run along that wall but there's a hell of a view from up here.

Now it's your turn again. In one week, two, three, down to you - still no pressure!

Because he's presently nonverbal, we don't have a full picture of Rukai's knowledge and comprehension but time after time he blows us away and does something we had no idea he understood how to do (such as changing the DVD and getting it running - chins on floor all around, let me tell you!)

I'm curious to know what was the one success any of your kids has had which has surprised you the most? Is there anything you didn't expect from any of them and then they've gone and done it and you thought 'whoa, wasn't expecting that!'

I look forward to hearing from you, friend. Until then, it's time to get a portable leaf blower and blast those eggshells out of your path. Cos 'ain't nobody got time for THAT!'

Best to you all and hope you had a wonderful break.

Maxine x

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