grown ups are like that....

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

head over heels

I was a feather of a girl for a while there. I could stand on my head in the middle of the living room floor for what seemed like hours. My mother would peer at me from the kitchen nervous that I would fall, but she did not scold or ask me to be sensible. She simply let me be.

She knew, I think, that those days were fleeting. She knew that someday the weight of many responsibilities would sit on my shoulders and my easy lightness would be replaced by a heaviness that would keep my feet firmly planted on the ground.

I've tried now, cautiously when no one was around, to spend some time upside down again. But I can barely lift my legs into the air, and my feet feel like lead weights. I've tried, too, in yoga class with plenty of prep and lots of help from the instructor, but I always freeze up. Fear washes over me and I convince myself that I will fall and break a leg or embarrass myself in front of the entire class. So I quietly move on to something else: a nice, firm warrior pose or a quiet, safe child's pose.

But I see the others do it and wonder at the ease with which they seem to turn their world topsy turvey even for a second or two. I see them and I remember those sunny childhood afternoons I spent with my feet in the air and my heart easy. There was no fear, just action, as I swung my legs upwards toward the clouds. Then there was a calm while I watched the world pass crazily by as I stood on my head, motionless and quiet.

My son seems to be taking after me these days and spends inordinate amounts of time with his feet above his head. I watch him as he hangs upended on the couch, his small, perfect feet drumming a rhythm on the wall as he watches Scooby -Doo, and I envy the carefree flexibility of both his body and spirit.

I should, like my mother before me, let him be. I should let him hang there upside down among the cushions where he is happy, free, light. But I feel compelled to turn him right side up, tell him to stop before he gets hurt. I earnestly warn him that he could fall at any second. Even as I stand there scolding him, hands on hips, I know I shouldn't. I should listen to the little voice telling me,

"Don't fret. He isn't about to fall. . . he is about to fly."

14 comments:

slouchy said...

i, too, spent my childhood upside down. i, too, miss those days. :)

poignant post.

nad said...

I love this!
nad

Sueann Wells said...

Beautiful, Christine! I too find myself just watching my eldest as she pretend plays and explores the (furniture) world around her ... this gives me perspective. Thanks!

Bon said...

perfect for me, tonight.

it felt good to turn upside down, again. strange, finding myself in nearly 30-yr-old body memory that felt as right as the slower creakier adult body i inhabit upright.

Rachel said...

Wow. So many layers and such a simple concept. Beautifully written!

Chaotic Joy said...

Wow Christine. This is a wonderful, and wistful and...perfect!

Amber Kallen-Monroe said...

I love your post! You are making me think about my own kids and their own silly upside-down ways.

As a child I did not like to do headstands. I envied the kids who could. I was just too scared. Too scared to just let go and try. I always wondered what they must be seeing...

But maybe, just maybe, I will try hanging upside down from the sofa with the kids next time...

InTheFastLane said...

I could never stand on my head, but remember hanging, off the couch, a bed, looking at the upside down world and wondering what it would be like to live that way.

Love this, and need to remember it, as I watch my own kids.

Emily said...

"He isn't about to fall. . . he is about to fly."

I need to tattoo that on the back of my hand to remind myself not to fret over my children.

Thanks for visiting me at the Women's Colony.

hele said...

beautiful.
may your heart grow light
and take flight
into the light
of your spirit
soon.

huge hug*

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

Or rather, "He may fall, yes. But without the risk, where is the fun?"

That said, I think there is something to be said for being careful as an adult. Last spring, I rambunctiously tried to convince a little boy that backwards somersaults are Fun! and Easy! And then I proceeded to twist my neck and not be able to turn my head for 2 weeks. Fabulous.

painted maypole said...

i think you're pretty close to giving into that voice.

i could never do a headstand with any skill, but I would watch TV mork from ork style all the time

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CraffingOutLoud said...

This is my favorite of all of your posts. I want to give it a hug.