Monday, August 20, 2012
We went to the park last night; just you and I. And the anxious Beagle. You told me you learned how to do the monkey bars in Daddy's hometown over the weekend with your grandparents and were excited to show me. We couldn't get there fast enough.
I stood there, camera poised, dog on leash, waiting for you to scale the ancient playground equipment. You hung there, bony frame swaying back and forth, not making a move for the next bar. Squinting against the sun, you swung and swung, fingers gripped tightly, feet making repeated contact with the bar below. You were not crossing any monkey bars. I backed off and found a bench.
The entire 30 minutes we spent at the park you didn't try to reach that next bar. I kept my mouth shut. It was your feat, and your ability. Not mine.
Not long after I settled onto that bench, a little girl with a curly red ponytail bounded up to the monkey bars, too. She swiftly crossed one time, and returned again. Arm after arm, she whipped through. As you watched her, I could see your face start to crumple as you jumped down and ran for Mama.
I can't do it, you cried. I can't be like her.
I paused for a minute. You've been emotional the past few weeks, I know this via the Daycare Lady and her quiet 5pm reports, and Daddy's stories of you two when I was in New York last week. I accidentally made a promise to you Saturday evening, and when I backed out, you cried your face off and ripped my heart to shreds. I get you, now, I really, honestly do. I promise. I am a girl too, and emotional most of the time. It's harder than hell being a girl. I won't ever lie to you about that.
But it kicks a lot of crazy ass too. Your shirt, for example, you wore last night to the park? Says;
Your Grandma G. bought it for you. Because, HELLO, you're rad!
And who cares if you can't be like that redhaired girl on the monkey bars. Judging by her height, I'd guess her to be five or six. With age usually comes ability. Hey, just last summer you couldn't even crawl onto those stupid monkey bars let alone reach that first bar! Look at you! I bet she can't sing the words to that Cher Lloyd song "Want U Back" that I didn't know existed on the radio like you can. There's no way she can remember exact routes we took to parties two years ago. She doesn't have the heart for putting beloved packs of stickers in her bestie's mailbox like you do, nor can she probably Superman sleep in 14 hour stretches like someone I know can.
She's no you, lil' dude. There's no you who's youer than you!
We as a human race, and even more so as females, constantly compare ourselves to others. It's brutal. If I can do anything to alleviate that for you at your age, I want to. I try every. single. day. to do that in my own life. Notice I said try. At age 32, I am still trying to not be like other people on the monkey bars in my life.
And I am proud of you no matter how long it takes for you to cross those monkey bars. You might never cross them; I don't care. Ask your Grandma G. how much she loves me- her daughter who has never, ever not even one time, learned how to do a cartwheel.
A cartwheel! Who cares.