Unsure feet walking wobbly steps toward an imagined goal. Balancing all the weight and consequences of every decision while juggling all manner of odd shaped problems and demands. In order to avoid an horrific death, each step is first debated then carefully implemented. Possible failure, complete disaster and inevitable therapy all hold their breath waiting for me to trip and fall off the tightrope
“No you cannot quit piano” I yell out to him “I don’t care if you hate it today, just go downstairs and practice.” And with that I grab a little tighter to the rope with my toes as he swings me for a loop. The crowd below both cheer and boo. For whom I do not know.
“Let him stop” someone yells from the crowd “You’re too hard on him. He will hate you forever. You’ll ruin his life.”
Another voice screams up at me, “He needs to learn to stick with things. You’re too soft on him, he’ll never finish anything. You’ll ruin his life”
Doubt grabs me by the shoulders, blindfolds me and spins me around three times. I’m dizzy and have no idea where to place my next step. I hear the voices of the crowd grow louder until I can no longer hear a word.
I breathe, imagine and listen. Not to them. But to him.
I hear the piano, the mistakes, the thumping on innocent keys, the silences, and again the piano.
“Happy now?” He throws the question up at me, hitting me in the chest with a thud.
“No, not really” I cry back wobbling about.
“Well why not?” He demands.
“Because, I’m scared” I admit.
“Of falling off, and hurting you”
He begins to laugh, and so do the crowd. I struggle to keep my footing. Why don’t they understand? This isn’t funny! Can’t they see that if I loose my balance someone could get hurt here, seriously hurt? I sit on the tightrope, clutching on for my life and his. But my hands are slippery and I loose my grip, I am no longer sure what to hold onto, there is nothing. The advice, the books, the statistics on all of parenting’s do’s and don’ts wiz by in a blur.
So I fall. Hard. I may have broken bones, I can’t quite tell. Perhaps I’ll die. I think this is it. Yes, I’m sure it’s all over. A mother, her decisions and the child collide.
But after some time when I have the courage to open my eyes I notice he sits by me perfectly fine with only a scratch. He then gently leans over and looks into my face with a smile, and says,
“See, I’m not hurt at all!”