Under and out

Lessons from my daughter #30.

Last week my intrepid, independent little girl finally ran into a hurdle that she couldn’t make it over on her own. Or under, for that matter.

We decided to make the most of the warm winter afternoon and walk down to post a letter. On the way, there was a large oval with gorgeous green grass so I put Miss L down and we ran across together, arms outstretched, pretending to be magpies and taking the occasional tumble. Miss L got a little sidetracked by a stick or a leaf or some other thing in the grass that I hoped wasn’t dog poo so I made it to the end of the field before she did and stepped over the log fence, thinking she would follow right behind. She didn’t.

Or, at least, she tried to but she just couldn’t seem to work it out. You see, the log was right about chin level and there was no way her little legs were going to make it over. I called out to crawl under and catch up. She stood on tip toe and peeked over the log with a bewildered look.

‘Mumumumum!’ she called.

‘Come on, baby girl. Crawl on your hands and knees. You can do it!’

It was obvious Miss L didn’t understand and instead of dropping to all fours she proceeded to walk the fence line looking for some other alternative. She walked right past me, around the corner and up the hill before sitting down, shoulders slumped in defeat. I stowed away my giggles and swooped in for the rescue. The look on her face when she realised that she could crawl right under that log was priceless. In fact, she was so excited that she only managed to crawl halfway under before standing up and bumping her head on said log, which took some of the shine off this new accomplishment and made poor Mumma snort in an effort not to laugh once more.

When we revisited the oval again today, the childhood rhyme ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’ played in a loop in my head.

‘Can’t go over it, can’t go under it, can’t go around it, we’ll have to go through it.’

We have faced some big hurdles over the past year, my little family and I, and some days I feel as though I seem to be hitting the same stumbling blocks over and over and over again. I am ok when I have a job to do, when I can put my head down and focus on the here and now, but every time I look up there is the log fence that is my heart condition and all it took away from us staring me right in the face. Today I realised that, in many ways, I have been running along that fence line looking for a way to get out rather than admitting that perhaps I just have to crawl through on my hands and knees. I’ve been searching for an exit, rather than an opportunity.

It is human nature to run, something about fight or flight I suppose. With SCAD, however, there is nothing there to fight. It has no known cause and no known cure. There is nothing that I could have done to prevent it and nothing I can do now to guarantee the future. And so I have fled instead. I have put one foot in front of the other, determined to outrun the fallout when perhaps I should have stood still and faced it all along. Just like Miss L and the log fence, the answers and opportunities I am searching for may have just been in front of me the whole time if only I can get that log out of my line of vision. So this is me facing my fears. I am scared that this is as good as it is going to get. I do not know if I will heal any better than I have so far, if I can lose this pesky ten kilos, if I can reenter library land, if we will be back in our own home again or if I can provide a secure future for my daughter. I do not know how many years my heart has left in it or whether SCAD will strike again. What I do know, however, is that I am done with running.

It is time to stand my ground and start looking ahead. One day I will be on the other side of this hurdle and if I have to crawl and get dirty and bump my head a few times, well, I am as ready as I can be. Over or under, I am determined to get through this.



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