Ben, Palace of the Legion of Honor, SF, Canon SD1000
This is Ben yesterday at the Palace of the Legion of Honor. On the other side of the camera is me, trying not to have an anxiety attack as he gleefully runs across the marble floor. I try to push away the images of him, careening across the marble, face first.
I am a hoverer by nature (from a long line of hoverers) and I am fighting my hovering instincts. You’ve got to let him fall! they say… and I know this is true. I love watching those totally relaxed moms who seem totally cool with the falling thing. You can tell they have struck a balance between preventing the truly dangerous happenings and also allowing the more minor ones. I want him to learn about the boundaries of the world, when to slow down, the laws of physics. More importantly, I don’t want him to be afraid. I want him to trust himself and his body… and so I am learning to suspend my own fears and trust him too.
Ben, on the pavement, Berkeley, CA Canon SD1000
As soon as Ben started to walk (and fall) I have been fighting my instinct to stay close, hold his hand, prevent each and every tumble. I know this is not how I want to be… or how he wants me to be. He is very independent and shoves my hand away whenever I try to help. Stop slowing me down mom! Sheesh! and yet, when you see that wee boy face plant on the cement, his fat little lip stained with fresh blood, oy… it’ll do you in. This motherhood thing is not for the faint of heart.
There are ways that I hover over myself too, not wanting to fall (or fail, which is the adult equivalent to falling, right?) I see how I limit myself, how I want to keep everything contained and safe, to keep the anxiety level low. I can also run the risk of keeping the aliveness level low and the joy level low too, living in a comfy little plateau phase where everything is lukewarm and predictable.
How do we create that balance for ourselves too? Where are we willing to take risks with our bodies, our hearts, our egos? And where do we play it safe? Are you willing to jump out of a plane but couldn’t imagine asking that hottie out on a date? Are you willing to speak up at work but not in your home? Are you a powerful warrior mama but afraid to share your art? Are you afraid to sing out loud?
Where do you play it safe? and where can you allow yourself a little tumble or two?