It came from the other room and I stopped. Then I heard it again, a crash this time followed by a loud and grumpy protest of I can’t. I walked into the room to find Jackson playing with an old toy that I haven’t seen for months. I remember when we first got it. All the members of the family including Papa tried to balance the little animals as they would almost immediately tumble down. It is a wooden balancing game meant to challenge, there is no question.
I went and curled on the carpet next to Jack and just listened as he explained his frustration. After he got it all out I leaned over and said guess what? He smirked the tiniest smile and looked up at me. I shared that the secret is that it is supposed to be hard. Then I showed him how the bottom of the boat was made to rock and how the person who created this game did that on purpose. That the little animals had notches on them and if you lined them up just right they would help each other stay up but in the end they were designed to fall. Most importantly once you know this, once you know it is supposed to be hard, that it is supposed to fall, that is when you get to have fun. As the words came out the symbolism hit me right in the gut.
This is supposed to be hard. Mothering and loving with all of your heart is designed to be just like that little boat. It is meant to rock back and forth and sometimes we are even meant to fall but in knowing this, that is when we get to have fun. It doesn’t have to be perfect we just have to show up with our heart over and over.
The very next moment when Jackson started to balance those little animals on the rocking boat it felt different in the room. When they fell we laughed together and we balanced them again and again for almost another hour. Sometimes there is so much to learn in a little play and that goes for us too.
All of this and there is still one more lesson. Those little animals all had little notches to help hold onto one another for support and we my friend, we were designed to do the same. We are all in this together, let’s balance on our little rocky boats together.