It reminded me of a video we made one year for my dad's birthday. My oldest daughter was probably 7 and my son was 3. She was swimming. He was roller skating, just learning. He would take a flying start, fall down, and flail about to get back up and try again, over and over. It was a poignant picture of perseverance. The video seems to be lost and I would give my eye teeth to see it again, though, thankfully, it is clear in my mind's eye. It makes me think of what the yoga teacher said, that when you 'fall out' of a pose, you simply begin again. You do not criticize or judge yourself, you simply begin again.
The skating video was, in hindsight, perhaps a tiny precursor of things to come in my son's short life, as well as an excellent ‘teaching moment’ for me about the value of getting up and simply beginning again. Without judgement. Without criticism. Sigh.
But here's the thing, and I've been told this before, but not in these exact words-this is the height of vulnerability: to bring a child into this world where you do your best to love and teach and protect them, and you have far less say in what happens to them than you could probably ever bear to know. In my heart of hearts that is probably why for so long, I could not think of ever wanting to have children—I could not bear the weight of the vulnerability I sensed I'd be facing if I had children. I was afraid. I did not want to be exposed to the kind of pain I have felt. But, since I could not have experienced the love without the pain, I would not now choose otherwise and I am grateful today that I managed (through painful circumstances) to put my fear aside and have children anyway. Unknown to myself at the time, it was probably the greatest risk I've taken in all my life.
It's one of the hardest parts of being a parent: learning to live with your heart walking around outside your body.