Life gets supremely difficult at times. To say it is hard would be an understatement. I used to know how to laugh my way through anything. My Dad as much as I revere him, could be a grumpy old curmudgeon, yet I was his "happy pill". That was back when I used to dream of flying. Lately, I have dreamed of crashing, running, escaping. How did I forget how to fly?
I started to witness the lives my children were "living". When did we stop slopping in puddles? When did we start racing through chores so we could go play a video game....alone? It used to be stopping in puddles was as much a part of our everyday fun fantasy as picking up dog poop and seeing who could shovel toss it the furthest!!! Somehow, I stopped showing my children how to fly!
Yesterday, I took my kids to the fair. I havn't been on rides except the ferris wheel with them in years! When did I become so fearful of life? My daughter and my boys took one look at the flying ride and exclaimed how much we just had to do it!! I began thinking all the excuses. I am not young. They are all teens, why did they want me of all people to go on a silly ride with them? Yet the sparkle of excitement in all their eyes glistened. "Come on Mom, we can fly!!" , and something began to glisten in me too, it was contagious!
We entered two by two. My daughter protectively next to me, my sons bringing up the rear. I lay down on the platform as the carny lowered the safety brace. Immediately I cringed in claustrophobia. I was wedged in and began to panic. Breathing rapidly, tears exploded from my eyes and I began grasping for space. I told my daughter I needed to scream. She said "Mom, don't scream. Just move your body forward". Her head was high and free and clear; mine was wedged into the base. Clearly I had forgotten how to fly.
Like a turtle I stuck my head forward and again I panicked. I said, "I am going to freak out, I can't do this" and my daughter reached out and held my hand as the ride began.
She said "Mom, stretch out your arms, you are Peter Pan!!" as we rose high into the sky. For the moment I forgot my claustrophobia and I yelled back, "you are Wendy and we are flying!!"
I don't know if I forgot my fear or remembered how to fly, however soon the pure joy of laughter exited my mouth. Tears exploded free in the wind. Hand in hand, I was Peter and she, Wendy and we were flying to Neverland! With every rise brought a new onslaught of the pure joy in laughter and with every dip, I breathed, only to rise to joy once again. The crowd stared on. No one ever laughed this hysterically. The carny stared with complete disenchantment. In true Peter Pan form, I didn't care. I Was Flying!!!
As we exited the ride, as always too soon, my children gathered around me. I saw the glistening excitement in their eyes that I had seen when they were young and we were so poor, we couldn't afford a single ride at the fair, so we splashed in puddles; snakes were our toys; frogs were for chasing, and we flew every night in our dreams.
My children reminded me how to fly! Isn't that the epitome of life and parenting and love?
Sometimes we work so hard to make everything okay for our children, that we lose ourselves in the effort and then we can't understand why they simply do not have the zest for life we thought we taught them. Maybe, just perhaps, life becomes more real and flying becomes a true reality when our children come back to us with the lessons we fought so hard to provide for them. Maybe, just maybe, tonight as each approaches and kisses my cheek good night while I work away so ardently to provide a better future for them, maybe, they will head to bed and join me on the window sill of real life and together again we fly. Hand in hand.....it is our time to fly. Vxo