August 2010


“Let’s hit the road,” I call out as I head toward the door dragging the hiking backpack, the stroller, and my daughter’s favorite stuffed bear. We are taking a walk. It’s going to be our moment of quiet, our time of slow observance. We will stroll the countryside, moo at the cows, and watch the sun dip low in the sky.  As we walk, we will talk about the wind and about flying. We will listen for small sounds, sounds that no one else would hear. We will match fallen leaves to their trees and make up stories for the crickets.

I have it all planned out.

I took this same walk yesterday without my daughter. The whole time I imagined her with me; the two of us out in nature, enjoying the scenery, taking it all in. I imagined her telling someone about the walk ten, maybe even twenty, years later. “My mother used to take me out in nature. That really is what gave me such an appreciation for life. There was this one walk we took…it was just so perfect, and somehow it made me realize that the world was full of wonder. And I carried that with me forever and ever and ever and that’s why I’m such a great person and am President of The United States.”

As we drive off in the car, towards our destination, I can almost hear music playing in the distance. It’s a quiet song, but very emotional, and truly inspired. I cannot wait to begin our journey.

“Okay, honey,” I say as I set the backpack on the ground, “hop in.” She takes one look and shakes her head.

“No mommy. I want to walk.”

“Sounds good,” I agree, not wanting to argue with her desire to frolic freely. I stuff the pack back into the trunk.

“Off we go!”

We take eight, maybe nine steps.

“I think I want the stroller,” my daughter squeaks.

I carry her back to the car, unload the stroller, and buckle her in.

“But Mommy. I need to do the buckles.” She corrects me.

I undo the buckles and wait as she spends the next five minutes securing herself in the stroller.

I begin to get frustrated. I take a deep breath and think of the walk. This really is going to be great.

When she’s finally satisfied with the straps we begin to stroll down the road. I don’t waste any time. I jump right in and start pointing out the beauty. I have this one short walk to introduce my daughter to all the wonders of the world and I’ve already lost at least twenty minutes to the backpack/stroller ordeal.

“Look! The sky!” I say as I wildly gesture up towards the heavens. “What if you could fly like a bird?”

“Oh, Oh,” she says pointing down to a rock that has been sprayed orange by a road crew.  “What if I could touch that orange rock?”

I take her out of the stroller. She touches the rock. I quickly put her back in the stroller. She notices a bottle cap cast to the side of the road. “But Mommy, there’s that!”

“But Sage there’s trees and flowers.”

“AND THAT” she insists, jumping out of the stroller and running to the cap like it’s precious and rare.

I can feel the walk of my dreams slipping away…

Suddenly I realize the magic word that will get us back on track.

“Cow” I shriek, like I’m alerting people to a burning building.

My plan works.

My daughter giggles in delight at the prospect of livestock. She runs back to the stroller and…

…spends five more minutes strapping herself in.

I take many deep breaths. “Isn’t this lovely,” I say.

When she’s finally secured we trot off to the cows. “This is where it will all turn around,” I think to myself. “She’ll watch them graze, notice the grass and the way that the wind bends all living things ever so slightly. It will be profound” But when we get to the pasture, there are no cows in sight. “NO COWS!” my daughter states as if in total shock and disbelief. I know her subtext is, “OH MOMMY, HOW YOU LIE!!”

I frantically begin making up a story about how the cows must be sleeping or having a meeting with Old McDonald, I’ve just got to turn this around.

But then out of nowhere Sage spots a stick that is just her size. The missing cows are forgotten. Our nature walk is back on!

“This will be my very best walking stick,” she says as she brandishes it about, nearly taking out my eye. “Oh and that one too… and one more…that one over there.”

I quickly gather her sticks and place them on her lap, now this is starting to become what I imagined. We are foraging. We are two explorers out on the road.

“Onwards!” I cry and attempt to move us forward, to the maple trees that are just around the corner, to the glistening spider webs and the rock pile where just yesterday I spotted a fox.

But her three sticks have gotten caught in the wheels and the stroller spins and catches and nearly tips over.

“No more walking sticks.” I say, now losing my temper.

“But they are my best,” she begins to cry.

And because I dreamed of walking silently by her side, down the dirt path, and through the meadows, I agree to hold the three walking sticks as I push the stroller.  I nest one under my chin and one under each armpit and trudge on.

Now I’m really starting to feel like a chump. I’m disappointed. I’m tired. I’m done walking!

I can no longer point out the setting sun or the sound of the crickets or the wind on the maple leaves. If I talk, the damn stick will fall from beneath my chin. “Fuck it,” I think to myself. “This walk sucks!”

But then out of nowhere Sage begins to shout, “Stop mommy. Stop. Look right there.”

And she points to something off to the side, just beyond my view.

I sigh.

I put down the sticks.

I unbuckle the straps.

I lift her out of the stroller.

I sigh again.

I follow her to a spot in the grass.

She kneels down.

I kneel beside her.

She extends one tiny finger and shows me a small speck of light that is shining on an even smaller flower. It is absolutely perfect.

We never do manage to spot the fox, or the cows, or achieve enough stillness to really feel the wind or the leaves beneath our feet. But I’m pretty sure I can hear that music playing in the distance as we walk back to the car.

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You know you’ve angered your toddler when you return from your first-ever overnight trip without her and she greets you by throwing a shoe at your head. You know she feels betrayed by your absence when she follows the shoe-throwing with the statement, “You are not my only one in the world! You can’t play with my toys!” Additionally you can be fairly certain that she is warning you to never leave again when later that day she says, “I will be an animal and if you run away I will eat you up.”

And a week later, when you are in the car together and it starts raining and you turn on the windshield wipers and your child watches them swish back and forth and makes the observation, “That looks like a mommy going away from her baby. But her baby will not let her go. She is going to chase her, and chase her, and chase her…” you know your kid is still working through her feelings and is going to be mad, and sad, and insecure for a little while longer…

And as you try to navigate your way through her aggression, you may find yourself wishing for a lighter touch. “I wish she’d hold back,” you might think. After all, it is demoralizing to be told, “I’m mad at you mommy,” and, “I’m sad at you mommy,” over and over again.

And as soon as you have that thought you might find yourself remembering a time when people did hold back and did refuse to tell you what they were really thinking. You might recall one time in middle school when out of nowhere people whispered and glared and said, “this seat is taken,” when you asked to sit at their lunch tables. And you may be able to conjure that feeling you had way back when, that feeling like you were suddenly living in an alternate universe where humans don’t actually address each other directly, but instead use some sort of secret language that consists of a series of eye rolls, and everyone can speak the language but YOU.

“Did I do something?” you’d wander around saying. “I feel like people are mad at me but I’m not sure…no one will tell me what’s going on…”

And perhaps you will recall that one time you and your significant other argued for three weeks over which type of domestic animal would make a better pet. And you said it was dogs “because they love you no matter what,” and he said it was cats, “because they make you work hard for their affection and therefore are more genuine and trustworthy.” And you cried and bickered and almost broke up until just at the last minute you realized that you were not actually mad about cats and dogs at all. You were ACTUALLY mad because one of you forgot your three-month anniversary.

Or maybe you will remember the time your boss started giving you extra assignments because you were the only one in the office who did not comment on how sharp she looked in her new mini suit. Or maybe that time a colleague stopped asking, “Can I get you anything at Starbucks? I’m picking up Latte’s for everyone,” and you spent the rest of your coffee breaks obsessively trying to figure out what crime you had committed that would warrant your exile from “The Starbucks List”.

And as you are remembering these times you might suddenly find yourself desperate for your toddler and grateful for her confrontational ways. At least she tells you exactly where you stand. At least with her you will know when the storm clouds have passed. There will be no guessing, no silent treatment or “he said that she said that they said…” Just a straight up “You suck!” until finally… eventually…”I love you mommy,” becomes the sentiment once again.

Because my daughter woke at 6:45 a.m. and I was not ready to be awake, and because it was my very favorite movie as a child, and because it can be downloaded instantly on Netflix, I let my daughter watch a few selected scenes from the musical Annie.

And because she loved it, and because she asked so nicely, and because each song brought me back to my own childhood, I let her watch it again, and again, and again.

And because I still love to sing with a mop in my hand, and because I love to dance with my daughter, and because I know most of the scenes by heart, I asked if she wanted to pretend to be Annie.

And because I want to empower my daughter, and because I want to encourage her creativity, and because I really would love playing any number of the characters, I asked her to choose who I would pretend to be.

And because she is two-and-a-half, and because there is probably nothing more satisfying than watching a grownup pretend to be a dog, she assigned me the role of Sandy.

And so it came to pass that I spent the majority of the past seventy-two hours on all fours barking like a mutt.

Before dinner we rehearsed the scene where Annie meets Sandy (the dog) for the first time. She saves him from a dogcatcher (my husband) and then brings him home to the orphanage.

After dinner we performed this scene seventeen times. I knew after the first go around that this play would consume our lives. My daughter was like a method actor dropping into character. She truly became Annie. She adopted Annie’s orphan story as her own. Suddenly my kid had no parents. She was alone in the world with only a dog as her companion.

At bedtime my daughter did not call out for Mommy as she often does before settling in for the night. Instead she desperately shouted, “doggie, doggie”!

And the following morning, when we woke, she did not lovingly turn towards me and sigh, “oh mommy.” Instead she gave me a pat and happily chirped, “Hi doggie.”

Now when it comes time to eat she suggests that I put my bowl on the floor- just like Sandy, of course. And when I’m having a conversation with someone- say my mother-in-law, or a colleague-she shouts in the background, “Hey doggie! Hey doggie! Why are you talking doggie? Bark, doggie, bark!”

And for some reason, probably because when I am being Sandy I don’t have to do the dishes or the laundry (dogs don’t clean), I just let this go on.

So because I didn’t draw the line, and because I am a chump, and because I have no intention of stopping any time soon, the next time we are at the grocery store and my daughter asks me to “fetch some goldfish crackers, doggie!” and I get down on all fours and trot over to the snack isle and people stare and wonder what kind of crazy lunatic I am… I really have no one to blame but myself.

In the big wide world of “wanting” my daughter had been fairly low maintenance.  Her most frequent requests were for popsicles, pens and little one-dollar notebooks. My husband and I figured we were home free. We just assumed it was like eye color – it settles by two and then is stable forever after; if she didn’t have major purchasing requests by 29 months, she was pretty much going to fall into the “I hate shopping” camp and stay there. We would not have to worry about cars or the latest fashion trends. We’d just weave her a skirt out of plastic shopping bags and get her a bus pass.

Trips to the toy store were more like visits to the children’s museum.  We’d play with the items, experiment with the display babies, make a visit to the train table, and bounce a few balls.

“Time to say goodbye to the toys,” I’d say after about 45 minutes. She’d go around kissing each play thing and calmly tuck the babies into bed. The cashier would scowl at me for lingering so long and not making a purchase. I’d wave apologetically and we’d be out.

It was glorious. As we’d saunter down the street, bag free, I’d glance back through the store window to see other children red-faced and flailing at the register. Though I could not hear them I knew they were shouting, “I want it! I need it!” I’d puff out my chest and pat myself on the back. “Good work self! Don’t know how you pulled it off but this kid craves nothing.”

But then the other day we were visiting a farm and a miniature pony came prancing up to the fence and gently nuzzled her nose against my daughter’s arm. Sage was immediately smitten. I watched as her mouth slowly fell below her chin, then down past her navel, knees, ankles and finally landed with a thud on the dry dirt. She was completely agape. “M-mommy,” she stammered, “I need to have that.”

“That pony?” I asked just for clarification.

“That pony.” She insisted. “I need that little pony. I need to buy that pony.”

I was indignant.

“But that is so cliché! Ponies are what the spoiled little girls in movies always ask for. You can’t ask for a pony. You are supposed to be low maintenance. I’ve been priding myself on that. No pony. No Pony.”

“But I need a pony!” she began to howl. “Shhhh…” I hissed, “What if someone hears you. They will think I’m one of those mothers who never denies her child anything. And besides, we have no place for a pony. We aren’t even allowed to have a cat in our apartment. We are still renting for Christ’s sake. How do you think we could afford a pony?”

“Pony, pony, pony!” she continued as I flopped down on a pile of hey to recalibrate.

“Maybe this is just a fluke,” I assured myself. “That pony is really freakin’ cute after all.  I’m sure Sage will be right back to her spartan self tomorrow.”

But then tomorrow came and again something bizarre occurred. We were sitting on the side of the road waiting for her father to arrive on a Greyhound bus when all of a sudden a motorcycle flew by. Two riders straddled the seat and both sported neon helmets and fringed vests that blew wildly in the breeze.  Sage stood and pointed like she’d spotted a familiar friend in a crowd. “Look Mommy. A motorcycle. Can you buy me a motorcycle?”

I shook my head, “You’re kidding me right.”

“I want one for really real! And I don’t want to share mine like those guys. I want my own. I will ride just me.”

“Sorry honey,” I cooed. “You have to be a lot older and even then you’ll have to kill me off and get Daddy to find you a much less neurotic mother who will not lie in bed at night crying about the fact that you are zooming around with nothing between you and the pavement but a plastic helmet. No. Not now, not later. No motorcycle.”

My two year old looked both shocked and offended, like I’d just poured ice water on her head. “But I need one,” she demanded.

And it occurred to me as I sat there on the side of the road trying to calm her down while also making it perfectly clear that she was never ever getting a motorcycle, that maybe all this time she was just waiting for the big ticket items.  All those docile trips to the toy store, all that contented window-shopping, perhaps it was all just a ploy. She was waiting, adding up the numbers, “That’s fifteen dolls I never asked for, and three pretend shopping carts I simply ignored, eight play kitchens I left at the store, and five Thomas The Tank Engines I did not demand…. That’s got to at least add up to a horse or an automobile… my mom owes me something big for all the tantrums I never threw.”

So, now I find myself longing for the toy store meltdowns. At least there are a limited number of kid centric shops on any one given block. You can spot them from afar and just walk the other way. But trucks and motorcycles and buses just keep coming. Yesterday my daughter begged for an old fashioned convertible, a fire truck, and a Toyota Prius. The ladies at the toy store are going to love me now. I’ll be shoving baby doll after baby doll into a cart just to distract my daughter from her desire to own a jumbo jet.

She is an artist. He is a writer. They are married. They are parents. We’ve come to hear them talk about their amazing collaboration. She wears a silk scarf and smiles widely. He’s got wire-rimmed glasses and walks with a happy gait. The moment they take the stage my husband and I exchange a look, “We are going to like these two.”

They spend the next hour talking about how they left their fancy jobs and their stable incomes to start their own back yard publishing company. His parents’ thought they were crazy. They protested, “this is not how you were raised.” They said, “how will you survive?” The artist and writer ignored the protests. They were going to make it work, no matter what. They grabbed the kids, left the big city, moved to a barn, and set up shop. Now they work together writing storybook after storybook, building off of one another’s ideas, editing each other’s work. They explain that they are broke, but love what they do.

They read us one of their creations. It is brilliant; the kind of story that will only ever be written once. My husband and I applaud loudly, but some members of the audience look concerned. A woman raises her hand, “what about the children?” she asks. “How is there room for them?”  She is clearly suggesting that these two are selfish. How could they possibly have passion and offspring all at the same time? How could they subject the children to the financial instability of their dreams?

The writer smiles, he has heard this question before. “They are our the greatest thing in our lives.” He says, “They are our very best creation. One of us is always with them. We did this for them as much as we did this for ourselves. We want them to have parents who follow their hearts and are happy.” My husband and I take each other’s hands; this is what we hope for too.

At the end of the talk, after we’ve seen more of their incredible books and heard about their plans to change the world we decide we will stalk them.

“We must become their friends.” I say. “We must…whatever it takes…letters, emails, mix tapes. We will write them a song and stand outside their barn and play it again and again until they like us.”

“Yes,” my husband agrees. ” We will tell them funny jokes. I will mention that I am from Alaska. We will invite them over for brunch and they will taste our amazing french toast and meet our astonishing daughter. This will surely do the trick.”

As we wait in the line of admiring fans we practice our opening line, “Hi, we are your new stalkers. We are just like you but not quite as cool.”

When we finally reach the wonder couple we both draw a blank. We rock nervously. We futz with our belt loops. We giggle. Suddenly my husband speaks. “We are cobbling our lives together too,” he says. “We’re trying to do what we love and trying to raise our daughter.”

I begin to panic, this is not what we rehearsed. What about the opening joke? What about the bit about my husband’s exotic Alaskan heritage? I assume we will now have to slink away, never to see this inspiring pair again. I hang my head in shame.

But when I look up I notice that the writer and artist are smiling. They seem to like us. My husband has said just the right thing. We do not need to be funny or intriguing or even mention the unique ways that we are like them – writing together, co-parenting, trying to collaborate in everything we do. As soon as we mention the bit about cobbling things together while also raising a child, they both offer a wide grin. “We must keep in touch,” they say.  “We need friends like that.”

And all at once I see that they are just as confused and overwhelmed as we are.  As we stand with them sighing and laughing I know that we all feel terrified to raise children without the stability, without the nine-to-five jobs and comfy homes that our parents had. I’m sure that they take deep breaths every time someone asks what they do, knowing that it will take them at least thirty minutes to explain and that half of it will sound like they are describing a scene from some Muppet movie. I know that they stay up late into the night wondering how it will all come together. I know that despite the sometimes-paralyzing fear that these dreams will all amount to nothing, they must try, at least try, to do what they love and be parents all at the same time.

As we say goodbye someone from the crowd approaches to offer an idea, he knows of a job, “a real job” that will be just right for the artist and the writer. He is hoping to save them of course; from their patchwork lives…after all, they have children now. What about the children? I can see that he means so well. They always do. The artist and the writer just smile.

I take my husband’s hand and we head towards the door. We are off to see our daughter and make books, and puppets, and songs, and plays, and movies, and try and try and try to make it all work out.

A few days ago a pregnant friend sent out a desperate message on Facebook. She explained an overwhelming trip to Babys-R-Us that resulted in her feeling like she’d never be fit to raise a child. “Help” she pleaded, “someone please tell me what to register for.”

Eager to jump at a chance to display some parental wisdom  (these opportunities come so rarely) I immediately began composing a response in my head, “Dear friend, children don’t need much. Get a few diapers. Get some onsesies. If you have a sensitive nose get a Diaper Champ or some other device that will make the smell of feces magically disappear from your dwelling place (but you can also just keep your trash on the back porch and occasionally spray it with Febreze). The end.

It was such a neat little note, just what a pregnant mom would want to hear. I decided I’d type it up just as soon as I finished packing for our weeklong family vacation. I’d make it a bit softer, add in some calming humor and press send.

But then something very disturbing happened… as I walked around the house gathering items for the trip I found myself serenaded by the following inner monologue: 

“OK… I better pack six shirts, and also a sweatshirt for the cold nights- and make that two sweatshirts because if she’s wearing anything at night it will likely be covered in ice-cream by the second day. Then I’ll need these orange shoes and also these green shoes for the days when she suddenly and quite arbitrarily decides that these orange shoes are the wrong color and are too tight.

I’ll also need to bring these rubber bands for keeping her hair out of her eyes, and these clips for when she refuses to wear these rubber bands. And I’ll need this brush and this detangling spray just in case she lets me brush her hair and these scissors and that comb in case she doesn’t and I have to cut it all off once and for all.

And I’ll need her toothbrush, and her special toothpaste, and the floss that she does not actually use but likes to pretend to use. And I’ll need the thermometer in case she catches a summer flu, and baby Tylenol in case she catches the summer flu and the vitamins in the hopes that we can avoid the summer flu all together.

I’ll also need the diapers for land, and the diapers for water, and the underpants for when she’s experimenting with no diapers at all, and the roll of paper towels for when the experiment goes awry.

And I can’t forget her special cup, or her other special cup, or her other special cup, or the special straw that she uses in the bathtub. And speaking of special things… I will need to pack her very favorite stuffed black cat, and her very favorite stuffed purple cat, and her very favorite stuffed brown cat. Additionally I’ll need her important baby, and her important books, and the broken leg from the plastic side table that she likes to pretend is her important walking stick.

And I’ll need sunscreen, and that yellow hat that she likes to wear every morning when she’s pretending to be a taxi driver. And I’ll need those puppets, and that maraca, and that notebook for writing about all the stuff she does with those puppets and that maraca. And…”

Suddenly I had an entire store’s worth of goods sprawled out on the floor.  It looked like the scene from “The Cat and The Hat” when the cat has taken over and turned the house upside-down and inside-out and the fish is staring the reader dead in the eyes like, “We’re fucked!”

I immediately began composing a new letter to my pregnant friend. “Dear friend, buy nothing. NOTHING!! I’d like to repeat that for good measure. NOTHING!!

Diapers will only lead to training pants, which will lead to underpants, which will lead to music and books about potty training, which will lead to little potties for home and little potties for on-the-go, and an arsenal of cleaning supplies for when all the little potties fail you.

Onesies (even just a few) will lead to matching pants, which will lead to socks, which will lead to shoes, which will lead to other shoes, which will lead to hats, which will lead to tangled hair. And this tangled hair will lead to conditioning products, and detangling products, and combs, and brushes, and clips, and scissors, and arguments over said combs and brushes and scissors which will lead you to need” that one special” stuffed animal or calming CD or pacifier that will make it all better.

Resist. If you must register for anything, register for a large open field where your diaperless, clothesless baby can run naked amidst the grass. She’ll pee where she likes so there will be no need for diapers- no need for portable defecation devices. She’ll fertilize your land- you’ll be able to grow a kick ass vegetable garden and won’t have to buy her overpriced kid-friendly snacks or snack carrying contraptions. She’ll be out there fashioning a baby doll out of a pinecone. She’ll be whittling a train using the sticks she finds in her field. The wild cats will lick her clean every night. The birds will nest in her hair so you won’t need to worry about brushing that either. They’ll lay eggs in there and at breakfast time she’ll pick one out of her tussled mane, rub two rocks together to make a fire and cook up an omelet. You won’t need kiddie forks, or sippy-cups, or drinking straws, or bibs, or splat-mats, or highchairs, or booster seats or little toys that suction-cup to those booster seats and highchairs, she’ll be eating her home-cooked grub under a little oak tree while being serenaded by a dove. And what will you be doing as your self-reliant, stuff-less child goes about her day? You’ll be RELAXING in a reclining lawn chair in your lovely little field.  The end.”

If you were to watch me watch my daughter, I’m quite certain you’d assume I was stoned. She does something… anything…and I just stare like it’s the season finale of my favorite show. Then I explode with laughter, or cry with awe. And I say stuff like, “That’s so crazy, did you just see her work that fork? Oh my god that was amazing. Forks are amazing. It’s just insane that we have forks. Someone invented forks. Someone raised a child who grew up and invented a fork and then all the rest of us all learned to use those forks. How did we learn to use forks… that’s such a crazy accomplishment…come to think of it how did we learn to walk or turn on a light switch? I need to take a nap or eat a bag of chips…this is all just too much…”

The other day I watched Sage try to jump off a small boulder. All the other kids could do it and I knew she wanted to join in their fun. After several anxious laps around its perimeter she climbed atop and then gazed down like she was about to throw herself out of an airplane. She squinted her eyes, took a deep breath and then made this little hiccup motion that sent her shoulders into her ears but left her feet unmoved. When she opened her eyes she gave this incredulous look, “What? I’m still on this rock? How is that possible?”  As the other kids bounced off the cratered surface like it was a trampoline, my daughter remained fixed in her place, pumping her shoulders and wondering what exactly was causing the malfunction. She checked her shoes and touched the rock- why was it not working for her?  Then out of nowhere something seemed to click. She began to swing her arms like she was cross-country skiing. Next she started galloping her feet until at last she got enough momentum to propel herself forward.

When she landed she looked up at me like, “Holy shit did you see that?” And I nodded, mouth agape like I’d just watched a man land on the moon. And that is really how I felt.

It was riveting. I told everyone, “Hi, I know we haven’t talked in three years but my daughter just jumped off a rock and I wanted you to know how spectacular it was…hello? Are you still there…?”

Despite teaching for at least ten years, nothing, and I mean NOTHING, could have prepared me for watching my daughter learn. It’s so humbling it makes me feel like I’m stripped down naked and standing atop Mt. Everest. Whether she’s figuring out how to unscrew a bottle cap, or scribble the letter S, or scream louder than the big girls on the playground it is all one amazing  process.

And perhaps I’m so acutely aware of her learning and the massive journey she takes as she discovers her world for the very first time because I’m in the process of figuring out my new world too.

How do I wash the dishes while cradling a kid?  How do meet my work deadlines while wearing a puppet on one hand? How do I get poop out of the pillowcase and untangle her hair and teach her how to be kind even when I’m feeling irritable and tired? How do encourage her to sing at the top of her lungs, and whisper at the library, and dance where ever she likes, and stay safe around cars, and swim, and sit through dinner, and listen till a story comes to an end, and watch carefully, and be bold, and pensive, and expressive, and open.

It’s all trial and error. Some days I feel like I’m standing on a rock, just stuck flailing my arms and wondering why I’m not moving forward. Then some days, it clicks and…

I jump.