Am I Strong Enough

Coming off a minor family trauma and a little brain surgery for my little girl (she’s recovering very nicely, thank you for asking), now seems like a good time to share…

Am I strong enough to be your mom? A question I ask myself about all three of my children on an almost daily basis. Kind of a scary question, because the answer simply must be yes, unequivocally yes. Can I handle your pain, your trials, your anger and fear? Yes, my arms and my heart can stretch and stretch and stretch. Can I bear to love you so completely and yet have my heart broken over and over again by a thousand little endings and “last times” as you grow and become independent? Yep, that’s part of the deal I signed on for. And, frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

But with a daughter who will use a wheelchair as her primary mode of mobility for the rest of her life, I have to ask the question in very practical terms. Am I strong enough to repeatedly haul your strong and growing body around, transferring from floor to seat to changing table to wheelchair to car seat and back again? Can I do it every day? Can I do it one hundred times a day? For now, I can. But the days of flying my light-as-a-feather Sweet Pea over my shoulder are almost over. Pushing thirty-five pounds of unbalanced muscle, limp legs and tight ligaments, your physical body is pushing the limits of mine already. And so I spend a couple hours a week at the gym  (not nearly enough, but it’s a start.) And, while many others are there to slim down and tone up, maybe envisioning the cute bikini they’ll wear to the pool this summer or getting fit for an upcoming reunion, I am single-mindedly pursuing strength.

As I slide the pin into a heavier weight on a machine, strap on my free-weight gloves or crank the treadmill up to a full incline, I’m not thinking about losing weight (although that would certainly be a very welcome side benefit), I am thinking about carrying you, supporting you, never letting you feel like a burden. As the sweat collects on my brow (and in my bra) or when I feel like I can’t run another step, all I have to do is flash on the image of you in that blasted chair and I can make it another minute, sometimes another mile, sometimes through tears. I run because you cannot. I will be your legs when you need me to be; I will be ready for anything.

I will be strong enough. I will not let you down. You will never be alone in this. You can count on me.

6 responses to Am I Strong Enough

  1. mom

    I’ve been re-reading your posts.
    “I love the way you write.” Thank you for sharing once again. We missed your blog this past year, but now look forward to your new format and subjects.
    We love you, Elisabeth!

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