When I was little I thought “getting grounded” meant you were literally put in the ground. I also thought that tornadoes had something to do with massive storms involving tomatoes. I sang “What’s love…cock-a-doo, cock-a-doo…” instead of “what’s love got to do, got to do with it…”
…and I also thought that babies learned to walk in a single solitary moment.
I’ll let you figure out which one I still thought was correct up until the past few months. Go ahead and take a second. I’ll give you some thinking room.
Yeah, that’s right. Despite having had my entire world proven to be different than it really was in the past year, I still thought babies took a few steps and then were off to the races. Like one day they’d be hanging on to the couch, decide to step off and never return to crawling or flopping or couch surfing. So when the girls started doing all of that and then going back to crawling to get around most of the time I thought something was wrong.
This wasn’t my Kodak moment that television had promised me.
But as it turns out, learning to walk, like literally everything else in life comes in waves and stages. It’s as if the world is preparing us to be patient with our new adventures. And the thing about that is that I don’t do patience. Not well. At all.
When the girls started taking those tentative steps, I started trying to record them. But as soon as I’d get the camera app on my phone open, they’d flop down and crawl away as if they almost knew what I was up to. They’ve been doing more and more walking as of late, and I haven’t captured any of it. And then, just tonight, I had to go to the bathroom. It couldn’t wait until the girls went to bed. As I was in there, I hear from the other room The Mister congratulating Ellie on a job well done. She walked the entire length of the hallway in our house and halfway back.
The entire hallway!
So I get out, figure out what is going on and pick her up and set her at the end of the hallway. She walks toward me, smiling brightly. And when she gets to me, she plops down and crawls away. I set Emma in the same spot. She takes a few steps, falls to her knees (seriously…how do kids do that…OUCH) and walks on her knees before crawling the rest of the way. Neither of them walked more before bed.
I don’t know their first steps. I don’t know how old they were. Do the eleven month old Frankenstein steps count? Does the year old waddle with the walking push toy get marked down? What about the thirteen month jaunt up and down the hall only to abandon the enterprise entirely?
It turns out the same girl who sang Tina Turner songs as if Tina were a rooster has a problem with getting things right.
I do not admit to wrongness easily. But most of the time I will get there eventually. But admitting to ambiguity? That is just the kind of thing that drives me insane. Let me be wrong all day as long as I am being specific. Good lord, this grey area is killing me.
As it turns out, nothing kills me more than nothing.
Not knowing is the equivalent of a thousand fiery suns burning down upon my skin while Jared from Subway holds up his far-too-large pants and a six inch Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki sub on *gasp* multigrain bread with…wait for it…no cheese.
(Yes, I hate Jared from Subway. He and Ryan Seacrest will narrate my every move in Hell.)
This pretty well establishes my hate for not knowing. And yet my entire life as of late is in this particular type of limbo. Going back to school in the fall? Think so, but not entirely sure how. Going to be teaching at the same place for the long term? Gee, sounds nice but I literally have no idea. Know when you’ll be able to see your friends again whom you miss dearly? Hell if I know. I should send them a postcard.
It dawned on me recently that my new challenge is finding sanity in the usual insanity of not knowing. I don’t do uncertainty well. I wear it like a three day old bagel without the benefit of cream cheese. I just chafe under the pressure and crumble into pieces. And this one thing–not knowing whether my kids are walking or not–is one thing I was promised by television to know for sure.
If I can’t count on television anymore, where can I turn?
Seems like it’s up to me again to find the uncertain peace of mind in uncertainty.