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.