I am in the midst of planning my goal to overcome my fear of heights this month. I am looking into a day of rock climbing to grease the wheels and test my ability to master heights I control at my own speed. I am also working on a day of ziplining and rope bridges at this new outdoor wonderland that recently opened up in rural Maryland off of Rock Creek Park. This adventure will be more of a two to three hour extravaganza where you harness yourself in and go through a forest like park. Other than a simple safety talk, you are free to roam and explore. Supposedly trained professionals will be there to assist you if and when you get stuck. While somewhat comforting, this scares me. How will they know when I get stuck? How long will it take someone to reach me? Maybe its best I don't know the answers to those questions.
I am also still working on bike riding. My next lesson should include pedals and the outdoor environment. I think once I can master both my own balance on a bike and riding without falling off and hitting someone else, I may be ready to actually ride a course or take a leisurely stroll through a bike trail at a local park. Stay tuned for this excursion coming soon.
But the main reason I haven't blogged in almost two weeks is that I am actually starting to feel my age. You know how when you turn sixteen and you get your license and you are legally able to go driving without parents present how you feel so invincible? And then you go off to college and realize no one cares what time you come in at night or if you make it to class? And then you get into your twenties and realize you can move anywhere, choose grad school or move abroad and as long as you can support yourself, your family seems to support you? Something to me about hitting thirty and, perhaps, its also about having kids at the age of twenty nine and thirty one has something to do with it, seems to have turned the page on invincibility. When you have others relying on you, and I don't mean for dinner plans or long weekends out of town... but for clothing, shelter, food, toothbrushing, cuddling, pushing a swing, those are some of the most rewarding and parent-like experiences once can experience. At the same time, some of them can be frightening. What if they don't like the songs I sing at night, or my voice? What if I pack her something she hates for lunch (thats good for her) and she wishes she got something else. Despite that fact that this is totally normal and realistic for a toddler AND a teenager, its still pressure.
Also, I guess I started looking around and feeling thirty two. I have always thought of thirty two as this ancient year. A year when I have wrinkles and a life of stories. You know, that grandparent feeling of having lived a full life and having everything figured out.... who you love, where you live, what you will "be" professionally. What I realized was thirty two is a life of possibility and ending at this stage in my life would truly be a life cut short. When I launched this project and this blog, I received so many responses from friends who knew I had lost my mother and their main comment was, "I never realized how young YOU were when you lost your mom." What I started realizing in these last two weeks was how young SHE was when she died. I have always put my mom up on a pedestal. Someone who never smoked a cigarette. Never spoke a bad word. Never raised her voice. Always loved her job as a middle school English teacher and then a stay-at-home mom. And definitely had it all together and all figured out. Now, I have started to realize just how unsettled I am in my life. Sure I have a wonderful family, a loving husband, two sweet and kind children, an interesting job, a great community and the list goes on. But do I have it all figured out? NO! No idea what I will "be" someday. No idea where we will live next and by next I meant in two and a half years when the residency ferris wheel turns into his real job. No idea if I will move abroad. Or open a flower shop someday.
No. Thirty two was a life of opportunities that ended unexpectedly. With conversations never finished. Books half read. A nursery just set up for the first time in five years. Dinner left on the table. A gas tank filled halfway. Piles of laundry waiting for the washing machine. And three very little children waiting for their mom to just come home and tuck them into bed.
So I apologize for not writing sooner. Forgive me for my grieving along the way. Something I am sure that was bound to happen. Something healthy and natural for the child who never had the chance. On and up I will go. I always get up and move on. But for today and perhaps for a little while, feeling thirty two may just make me feel a little heavy in my shoes for a bit. And I guess perhaps it should.