When we are kids, our biggest concerns are finishing homework so we can go out and play with our friends. As we age, our concerns start becoming more complicated. That sporting event or school play this weekend we are in is cutting into time with our friends and that big test or paper our teacher decided to make due on a Monday even though we’ve had several weeks to do it. Add a part time job and more adult responsibilities and we start to claim how busy we always seem to be. Begin new relationships and time becomes fleeting. Every minute you’re wrapped up in their world, they become a drug. You need that touch, kiss, a glance in your direction, or even a simple I love you over the phone at the end of a long day. Next thing you know, you’re married with children. The minute you hold you’re little one for the first time, you become overwhelmed with love and worry. How are you going to do this? Have more than one child? A few extra adjectives are thrown in there. Somehow we manage to do t all and make it appear easy or that we have a handle.
I was watching the documentary, Free Solo. I watched as this professional rock climber, Alex Honnold, train for months to climb El Capitan in Yosemite without the use or security of ropes. At first I remember thinking, ‘man this guy has a death wish’. As the documentary continued, I found myself admiring this man for doing the impossible and persever to achieve his goal. He struggled to maintain his relationships while finding the head space to climb up the rock. He had to find a balance. He knew that.
As I reflect on this past year of motherhood, I find that it has become a balancing act. When to say no to taking work home with me, taking five extra minutes of sleep in the morning while my daughter starts to stir, asking for help, and continue to strengthen the love and friendship my husband and I share. It hasn’t been easy to say the least. We are both learning and the training wheels came off way to quickly for us to feel stabilized. We are climbing our own El Capitan but each new crevice or slippery rock, there is no rope to catch us. We are free soloing parenthood. Our security rope is seeing our daughter thrive everyday. Knowing she is happy and healthy. That is how we know those falls that seemed major and the worst moment in our lives was only minor. We always had one hand holding us up. We knew how to balance our emotions and time without thinking. It was if we trained for months and went into the delivery room prepared with all the answers.
We have learned how to balance work, friends, family and each other without falling off to much. We aren’t perfect by any means and sometimes we need to add an extra rope or just throw our hands up and say today I’m not in the right head space, I need help. That doesn’t mean we are failures by any means. We have matured in finding our own balance in life. That’s all life and parenthood is, a balancing act.
Spoiler: Alex makes it. Despite criticism, insurmountable odds, and personal conflicts. He reached the top in record time. He was met by the cheers of family and friends sharing in this moment. A beautiful moment showcasing the power of the human spirit. Alex climbed El Capitan with only the use of his natural tools. Parenthood is the same. We often hang on by a finger or balance all our weight on one foot. Our body screams out of exhaustion and our brain won’t stop thinking about our next step and the steps to follow. Every growth phase or accomplishment is the peak of our own rocks. Sometimes there’s a crowd cheering and celebrating with us, more often we celebrate in the silence of our hearts. Proving we are stronger with every step forward we take.