A Hand-Up from A Smack-Down

Hand-Up     I heard the cry outside my bedroom window this morning about 8. I knew it was a child and they needed help. I ran out the front door and saw the little, blonde-haired girl lying on her tummy crying. She’d tripped and fallen on the concrete walk and her hair was in her eyes. She’d fallen, but she hadn’t gotten up.

     I called out and cooed over her, “oh Baby, are you all right? Are you okay?” I tried to comfort her as I picked her up. She was tiny, a kindergartener, I’d bet. I set her on her feet and crouched down low beside her to assess the damage: two slightly skinned palms and one slightly scraped knee. No blood. We gave the knee a rub and gave our hands a shake.

     She’d stopped crying and I asked her name. Jade. Was she on the way to school? A nod and an uh-huh. Did she need to go home to see her Mom? No. She was with her sister and friend (who stood watching, with or without concern, I couldn’t tell).

     What did I say? I know what I wished I’d said. I wish my “Mother Mary” had kicked in and I’d fussed over her a little more: dried her tears with my sleeve, kissed her little palms and little knee, given her a big hug.

     I wish I’d told her she was like a super ball and had great bounce-back ability. That she’d grow up to be a hell-of-a bouncer. Or that she was like Tigger to have a “bouncy-trouncy” day.

     I wish I’d shared Clarrisa Pinkola Estes with her: “Refuse to fall down. If you cannot reuse to fall down, refuse to stay down, lift your heart toward heaven like a hungry beggar, ask that it be filled and it will be filled. You may be pushed down. You may be kept from rising, but no one an keep you from lifting your heart toward heaven—only you. It is in the middle of misery that so much becomes clear. The one who says nothing good came of this is not yet listening.”

     I wish I’d gone Zen on her 6 yr old ass! “Fall down 7 times, get up 8.”

     But I didn’t.

     Instead, I calmly said, “It hurts to fall sometimes, doesn’t it.” Jade answered with a nod and another uh-huh. “Just get up and keep going, that’s all you have to do.” That’s what I told her. Life’s most basic lesson during a fall-flat-on-your-face moment; a skin your knee moment. Just get up and keep going. I’m sure if her Mom had been there, she would have told her the same.

     “The day gets better from here,” I told her as I sent her off with her sister and friend. It felt good to parent someone else’s kid. If something happens to one of my three kids one day, I hope there will be another Mom there to help.

    We all need an occasional hand-up. And tears are allowed! I know it’s my Sagitarius side, but just get up and keep going.

Looking Different to Seeing Differently: My Mom’s Face in the Mirror

Two days ago I woke up and looked different. I seemed to have morphed into my Mother overnight.

I actually noticed it as I passed the bathroom mirror at 4 a.m. I dismissed it as sleepy eyes playing tricks on me in the dark, but when Steve remarked the next morning that I looked like my Mom–well there it was, not just staring me straight in the face, but staring others in the face, too. So, what happened over night? What can cause a person to look like his or her self one day and someone else the next day? And why didn’t I wake up looking like Terry Hatcher or Linda Gray (two actresses that others have said I resemble.) Why my Mother?!

I guess it’s no secret why I woke up looking like my Mother–as the commercial goes, “You can’t fool Mother Nature,” the biggest Mother of them all. My question, however, is: why today? Physically, I’m not that much different then yesterday. I didn’t cut my hair into an “old lady” style or gain 20 lbs over night. So I have to wonder what would have my Mom’s face staring out the mirror at me today? Was it the expression? Had I seen that expression on her face before? Am I at a place in my life that matches a stage my Mother went through?

I’m in a relatively new–just coming up to a year–relationship with a man I can see myself growing old with. Whoa–hold the presses. Did I somehow hook up “togetherness” and growing old together in my psyche and alter my physical appearance in doing so? Or is it because my Mom, still married to my wonderful, devoted father wears a certain expression and I’m wearing that expression myself? My facial features couldn’t have changed that much over night, but wasn’t that my Mom’s nose staring back at me in the mirror? And could my expression have changed based on the experiences I’m having with the man in my life?

I do know this different look has caused me to look differently at my life. Why? What caused the shift? And, if I’d stop right now and look in the mirror, who’s face would I see? Is it experience, is it wisdom? Is it knowledge, belief, understanding, acceptance? Is it a cosmic message from my angels to tell me to call my Mom? Is it a reminder of the similarities my Mom and I have, and are they coming to the surface now because of the similarities I have with my 16 year old daughter. (A raving beauty on her own.)

Steve did tell me I’ve been hard on myself this past week. A little more critical of my appearance–of which I don’t give too much thought. I look like I look. And I like how I look. But this whole “different face in the mirror” is causing me to look at my life. I even picked up Marianne Williamson’s new book, The Age of Miracles, about mid-life transition. Just a quick skim of the table of contents tells me we will be lovingly accepting ourselves and morphing our thoughts to living our best life with this new found knowledge. Maybe this is just time’s way of telling me to take a closer look. My Mom has pretty much gotten everything she’s even wanted in life, and at 74, she projects Sophia Loren style beauty.

Have I too–gotten what I want? Or is it time to move toward it? Maybe that’s what I’m looking at. Or what’s looking back at me: the question–what are you waiting for? Are you ready to move forward?

Hmmm, I think I’ll start with a trip to the salon.