Sunday, December 7, 2008
The first time Monkey saw this thing, erected on the lawn in front of the entrance to the apple-picking-train-and-pony-riding-goat-petting-hay-climbing-llama-camel-ostrich-andwhothehellrememberswhatelse-watching-ridiculously-overpriced farm she was four and a half and fierce. She said she wanted to fly, and we paid for the lesson. She went on the little practice trapeze, and decided the big one was too scary. Then, after watching for a while, and, admittedly not without some gentle maternal nudging (because I can never pass up an opportunity to help her plow through another risk aversion block), she undecided about the scary and started climbing the ladder.
Ever since she was a tiny baby, with every stage of her development she seemed to me so grown, and very soon so independent. So mature. Grown up. At four and a half she seemed big, you know? Grown kid. She still seems that way to me, again and again with every milestone. You'd think I'd learn sometime, but I just don't seem to. Except once in a while, when the world stops for a second and I see just how little she is. Her climbing that long-long ladder was one of those times. The ladder illustrated to me, with the help of physical distance and laws of geometry how tiny she was, and how high she had to climb.
It was all perfectly safe-- harnessed from A to Z, even on the ladder, someone holding a safety line. I watched, so proud of my little girl, holding my breath just a little. I think they had to hold her up to the trapeze, I don't think she had the height then to stand on the platform and hold on to the trapeze at the same time. And then they let her go, and she flew.
We had to go back week after week that year. Before too long, maybe even the very next time, thanks to her love of gymnastics, she was doing knee hangs. Soon after it was upside down splits, and then all kinds of combinations. The girl was in love. She vowed to be back next fall.
(pst.. this pic is from this year, but you get the idea)
Between the vow and next fall her brother died. By the time fall rolled around I was somewhat functional, sometimes. We went back to the farm, but the contraption wasn't there. Eventually we heard where it was hanging out, and we tried to go, once, but it was closed just then, and I never got my act together to try again.
So this year, literally the day before the Cub was born, a friend forwarded an email about how the very people who taught Monkey to fly had a camp in a new location near us. And because the camp was undersubscribed, they were letting in first and second graders. So one thing to another, and Monkey and one of her classmates spent a week learning circus arts. At the end there was a concert. And because we are not right now talking about the concert, all I will say about it is that next year Monkey is going to this camp for two weeks, and the thing is worth every penny.
After the concert there was a trapeze demonstration. And Monkey said she wanted to try a catch. What's a catch, you ask? Well, let's start with the other side of the trapeze thingie, shall we? It looks like this:
See those swing-looking thing there, and no ladder to get to them? Yeah. So a catcher sits there, and swings at the same time as the trapeze flyer, who lets go of the bar completely, and aims for the hands of the catcher. Like so:
I caught my breath, and JD caught the shot. The Cub slept through the whole thing, being two weeks old and all.
We went back for lessons a few more times before the trapeze people packed up and went home to warmer climes, promising to come back when our average daily temperature was back to reliable short sleeves range.
Sometime in there I realized that my body hasn't been mine in too long. It wasn't still, but I could do some things now. Swim was my first thought, but seeing as I was still at the time a public health hazard, that was out of the question. But more to the point, I wanted to do something completely and utterly crazy. Something I absolutely positively couldn't do as a pregnant woman. You know where that's going, don't you? Yup.
This post is my return to Mel's weekly Show and Tell. For more showing and telling, click right over.