I beheld a woman holding a teeny tiny baby at the checkout today at the grocery store, and there it was: the instantaneous weep. Somehow these days the mere sight of a fresh newborn baby brings prickles to my nose and drippy tears to my eyes. When they took my womb in the hysterectomy, I think they also must have surgically extracted a little piece of my heart.
But here is my sweetheart, all stretched out after landing a jump today at ice skating practice. When I was a wee little one myself, I used to watch figure skating on television and skate around the kitchen in my socks, pretending that I was Dorothy Hamill. We didn’t live anywhere near an ice rink, so any skating I did was of the roller variety. So it is with pride and admiration that I watch my child pour herself into her sport in a way that I never could.
Yet at times it is difficult for me to reconcile this young lady:
with this baby girl:
When she was four, this child of mine did not want to play in a room unless I was in there with her. She was content to sit at my feet and play make-believe with her toys while I attended to laundry, emails, or dinner. This girl fit in my lap and thought every word out of my mouth was the gospel truth. That was then.
Now she is five inches taller than me, about twenty million IQ points smarter than me, and much, much braver than me.
I’m so proud to be her mamma that at times I feel like I can’t even breathe, my heart squeezes up so tight. Or maybe that tight feeling is apprehension that she might take a bad fall on that cold, hard, ice. But we won’t go there.
Speaking of falls that I know I said we won’t talk about but here we go talking about them anyway…I’ve noticed that in ice skating, it’s not a matter of IF you will fall, but WHEN. Hence, I am not the one out on the rink. Falls happen so often that skaters classify them as falls (lower case f) and Falls (upper case F). An Upper Case Fall causes all the coaches and skaters to stop what they are doing and look to see that the skater is okay — these kinds of Falls make a certain “ker-bloom” sound that reverberates all over the rink. Today my girl had one of these Upper Case Falls. I felt as if I was watching it happen in slow motion…when I saw her head bounce, my Mommy Instinct took over as I raced down the steps two at a time to get to her.
Of course she was okay…her super-thick, wavy hair acts as a natural bubble wrap. The bushy ponytail on her head stopped her actual head from hitting the ice. Her coach told us that girl skaters are more fortunate than guy skaters because their ponytails act as a sort of head protection. Instead of bonking their heads on the ice, girls’ heads do more of a boink-boink when accidentally colliding with the ice. Her wrist, elbow, and tailbone, though, have turned interesting shades of red as bruising sets in. Did this Upper Case Fall cause her to want to stop skating? Nope. The training continues.
And so my mamma’s heart alternately croons with admiration and joy and cringes with Upper Case Falls. Sort of like the way I felt when she was learning how to walk….only ten million times stronger.
Bonk. Be still my heart!