This week I fell. Hard. Like the kind where you don't see it coming. It happens so fast you don't attempt to catch yourself. Like you're running down the street at break neck speed (and are not a runner) in palazzo pants and moto boots and suddenly your knee catches your fall followed by your palm. And you look like you fell off your ten speed.
I left a bit of my dignity on our street Monday afternoon. And some skin. And a favorite pair of pants I wear too often. (You win, gods of fashion.) I was, naturally, chasing Wilder. He decided to make a break for it when I attempted to check the mail. And dude is fast. The good news is that when I hit the ground (I'm certain I made some sort of noise or perhaps just the earth shook) he turned and ran back to me. He was all "UH oh! Mommy. Trouble! Trouble! Mommy felled. Mommy felled in the street" and then he was all "aaacky, ewwww, dirty" at my wounds. And then I was all "get in the house rightthisminute!" Only I wasn't yelling because I was feeling a bit broken. And then the feeling came back and adrenaline waned and I felt tears in my eyes and Wilder was all (in a very alarmed voice and like I had sprouted a third arm) "mommy cries?" Yep. Mommies cry, too. We are humans. It may not always feel that way. But, this week I felt real human. Breakable.
I realized as I sat on the side of our tub washing the gravel and mud from my cuts (with Wilder's face about a millionth of an inch from my knee again with the "aaaacky, mommy, dirty, ewww") that I don't think I've had a proper fall as an adult with no momma around to tend my wounds. I wished she was there.
There are so many moments in life that make you think "I am a grown up." Sitting on the side of the tub was one of those moments. Wilder has been scared of the giant tree on his wall (a white decal that nearly reaches the ceiling) as of late. And I found myself being the one to tell him not to be afraid. I am the adult. It's an odd moment for someone that if I'm being totally honest wonders when I'll arrive. Surely by 30 I'll have it together. I'll be more ... more ... adultish. I am an old soul and 30 was more than four years ago. Yet, adulthood has long still felt like something I'll get to one day in the proper way. Like one day I won't be afraid of the weird noises at night. Or I'll have some understanding of our tax system in this country.
As I was sitting on the side of the tub I realized there was no one to clean the scrapes. I couldn't just turn my head and wince while someone else got after it with the tweezers. I had to do it myself. I love that saying "Fall down seven times and get up eight." Maybe it's the best way to properly speak about adulthood and motherhood. I tend to rather not do something that I can't do really well. Motherhood does not allow for such selfish indulgences. I am new at everything. I have never been a mother to a two and half year old. I have no idea what I'm doing. Do not be alarmed! I can do this.
There is no road map, though. There are standards and there is a kind of moral compass I live my life by. Litmus tests of sorts for how to move forward. But, these children really are little snowflakes and what is applicable changes and moves and you gotta be ready and you gotta plan and yet be willing to move forward with zero preparation on some days. You have to be an adult. You have to be willing to screw up. To fall down. And, yet, to never fail. Because at the end of the day, you are the momma. You are the one that soothes the ouches and chases away the monsters. You are the one with the bottle of hydrogen peroxide and gauze and the one that says "hold my hand and turn your head, this is going to sting."
We get to be the ones to say "I know you've fallen down seven times. Get back up." Because motherhood is about getting back up — no matter how hard we fall. It's about teaching the next generation that falling is not failing.