If there is one think life has taught me it is that I really do NOT know my own limits… and surprisingly, this is in a GOOD way! Now don’t get me wrong, using hammers – not my thing, lifting heavy items – nope, reaching things off the top shelf – you must be joking, I have stools and a tall husband for a reason. BUT on the other side of that, did I ever think… all those years back… that this diminutive Canadian woman who weighs 114lbs soaking wet could be all that I am, NOPE, NO WAY! And that is AMAZING!
My newest challenge, on a long list of challenges yet to come, is for my children. One of those things I kind of wish I had gotten to try as a child was to learn the piano. Well, the boys are 12 and Zander is in love with singing and hearing his voice… I remember taking recorder in school around the age most of my kids are now and we have this house to ourselves. Add in an amazing deal on a keyboard and amp from my beloved and gorgeous friend Shandai and the time is nigh. This 37 year old mother of 5 is going to learn how to play the piano! Now I am sure I am not going for concert pianist… but… I have faith in myself, in my friends and family online as mentors and my insatiable need to figure things out. I am going to give this a go!
Two years ago I never thought I could learn how to play with yarn. Cross stitch, yes, but that is a grid and X’s… but the wild world of hooks and yarn… could I do it? Well, it turns out all I needed was a lefty in my life again. Here comes Shandai AGAIN! Such a helpful and supportive friend she is… and BAM I am a yarn addict. May I even slightly suggest the student proceeded to surpass the master??? (she is so much a knitting first girl… ooh knitting… that is on my to learn list to!).
I remember, back in the old days when I was merely a mom of THREE. (I know insane) And there was a fire of some sort in our apartment building. I managed, with the help of my next door neighbour, to bundle up THREE kids, grab my prepacked diaper bag (see organization is key), accept a ride and get to my mother’s house. To top it off I was able to call the landlord to remind him that the downstairs neighbour’s mother was often home and an older lady. This was all with Ken on his way into the city with out cell phone. I didn’t think I could do it. I wasn’t sure I could survive Ken being an hour + away for work each day. That moment, that situation showed me that I hadn’t even STARTED to stretch my wings.
Heck, at the beginning of summer I looked at the schedule at the YMCA and saw an amazing opportunity in ClubY. The kids and I did the math and checked Google Maps, we gasped at the 2 mile walk ONE WAY, we realized we had to find a way to not walk the highway the whole way (what is it with this state and its hatred of sidewalks in the suburbs???) and we pushed Daddy out the door to walk that first walk with us. It was grueling and frustrating (the boys managed to forget their bag of swim gear, Emanuel and Trinity were distracted by every shiny thing they could find) but we did it… and almost 2 months later they are chomping at the bit to walk that walk and get to their events. We hadn’t realized we could make that 30+ min walk into a family event, that we could prove to ourselves and the world that we didn’t NEED the luxury that is a car to get us going each morning and get us into the world. And with that stretching of lazy legs we doubled and tripled our work out each day. We’ve proven to ourselves that those two miles are a journey into adventure and excitement.
I think this unknown strength we have locked up inside is key to our family and its ongoing growth. Homeschool has been one big adventure of trying to stretch ourselves. There have been tears, and laughter, anger and frustration, but most of all there has been realization… we are only as far as we are willing to go, we are only as strong as we are willing to try and we are only as smart as we push ourselves to learn. The limits we see… the too hards, the impossibles, they are all just false limits. They are the points we refuse to look past. Maybe the stepping stones need to be tiny, maybe we need to take extra time (and as everyone knows who knows us, we make time for the foundations always) but we are capable of those events and so much more.
Parenting is scary that way too, only I don’t have the choice. We are now facing puberty and the teenage years. I have already had to cope with the hormones running wild with the twins (not cool, Zander goes angry and Gavin whiny/weepy). The future looks straight on uphill with the teenage years looming. But then again… so very long ago, that is how potty training TWO babies at once felt. And we managed. It may not have been graceful and I think we ALL learned things at time but we managed. I don’t know how far I can go, how many limits I will come across, and I won’t know until I get there or until I try. Who knows, we may be even more successful at it than we think we will.
So what am I truly capable of? I guess the answer is… I don’t know. But you know what? I sure can’t wait to find out! The day I started crocheting the projects I pick up now looked impossible. There are some on my to do list that are daunting even now, but I know I have yet to reach my limit.
The future is full of challenges and unknowns, and we have choices. We can sit back and fear them, we can halfheartedly try to defeat them, we can simply accept defeat and move on to something else. I think I am going to make it my mission in life to try and head out there and meet at least SOME of these challenges face on! I am going to sit down at the keyboard and give it a go, do more than give it a go I am going to PRACTICE and QUESTION and LEARN. I am going to dust off the old record skills and I am going to make MUSIC. I am going to pick up those knitting needles in the fall and figure out this fancy knit and pearl thing (and probably suck up HUGELY to Shandai on that one). I am even, one day, going to face my fear of driving head on (don’t get excited I did say ONE DAY not tomorrow). I am going to walk into the gym and face those fancy machines and (with Ken’s guidance) learn something new next month. I am going to make sure that I show my children that my limits are always changing, that my skills are always growing and that if they can make and effort and try something new, well Mom is right there with them!
Now I am sure I can tie this all back in on my depression series. I know Ken has worked hard to stretch his own limits. But you know what? I think we all need to drop our limits and stretch out wings, regardless of our situation, of our fears and of our illnesses. So maybe… just maybe… you can draw your own parallels and see what I mean without my leading you through it? And when you chose to make some leaps, think of me and my family. We are leaping with you! And if you really want a buddy on something – hey you never know, I have tried sushi, gone all the way to the top of a glass elevator, done a maid of honour speech in front of nearly all strangers, met new people way out of my comfort zone and even faced down the bad behaviour of my own kids with strength and honesty and in public no less! Perhaps not the most amazing accomplishments to everyone else… but to me! Well here I am stretching my wings, bursting through my limits and making life even more amazing!
(thanks to my “baby” cousin David on the awesome conversation which inspired this post, and piano assist… love you and thanks for the virtual pep talk! Good luck with the PhD – you got this!)