Sitting on the pretty backyard deck, eating the last of the classic barbequed dinner, my daughter’s new friend L. mentioned she’d like to show off her room. Noting my daughter’s walker, L. asked if she could manage going up stairs. “No, I can’t.” M replied and then, “I used to be able to.” This said simply and plainly, with an undertone of deeply mature sadness, sadness perfectly echoed in my own heart.
This year, as her diminished strength became increasingly clear, has been a time of both frantic activity and slowing down to glacial speed. Learning, exploring, and questioning to find the best ways to support her in this journey have been my top priority, and quite rightly, she deserves it.
At the same time my creative and active life has come to a dead stop… well, except for cooking…I find so much peace in that, I will always do that I think. But barring that, I have ventured absolutely nothing that I hadn’t previously committed to… I haven’t auditioned, I haven’t written, I haven’t planned any new adventures… some days it has been a challenge to leave the house. Sometimes the plans I had already committed to seemed too formidable to imagine.
A certain amount of this is inevitable. I want to fully pour myself into supporting my daughter in making her life full and joyful… I mean, of course… who wouldn’t?
I wonder though if something else is at play here. I wonder if I am unconsciously limiting my life in solidarity with her. I think I may be.
What got me thinking about it was the most recent entry in Lyralyn Kaye’s wonderful blog, “Meisner, Movement and Presence” where she refers to a book called “The Big Leap”by Gay Hendricks. ,”In it, “ she says. “he talks about the upper limit we ALL have for tolerating joy, success, intimacy and general happiness. And he talks about moving that limit so we can have more of these things.”
I’m generally a believer that the truest gift of sorrow is the increased capacity for joy…what I’ve never thought about is raising the ceiling on my tolerance for joy, perhaps because it is usually relatively high …I’ve always thought more about digging deep than reaching high, but maybe I need to do both.
And maybe an important gift I give my daughter is climbing the stairs when she can’t.