Balance. It’s that elusive thing we’re all after all the time.
Balance between productive time and down time. Between being a firm role mode and a fun parent. Between work and family. Between being a parent and spouse. Between all the people who need you and, well, you. Between taking care of the house and taking care of the people in it.
It’s the thing that makes parenting feel like a never ending tightrope walk. You’re focused on taking the next step, placing it carefully down, balancing everything at the ends of your hands… and hoping against hope that nothing will come shake your wire and make you drop everything.
Because when you drop everything it takes forever to pick it all back up and feel stable again.
At the beach this weekend I spotted a row of stacked rocks. It happened to be Mother’s Day so I had mothering on the brain, but the rock formations reminded me of the balancing act we all constantly do.
As we walked by the log on which all the little towers perched on, my sister offhandedly asked if I’d noticed all the sand under each one.
“The sand is what keeps them balanced.”
It reminded me that even though it often feels like we’re balancing up there, on our wire, all by ourselves, juggling all the things life throws at us, we’re not alone. We have lots of little grains of sand helping us balance. (And yes, I know my metaphors are all tangled up. Just go with it.)
We have friends who stop by for coffee and offer a supportive ear. We have family members who know us better than we know ourselves. We have spouses who share the burdens. We have teachers who share the kid worries with us. Some days, we even just have the person who smiles knowingly as they pass you at the grocery store. Or the friends in the computer and in our phones, who aren’t with us, but are still doing this thing alongside us, ready to offer a quick word of encouragement, commiseration, or even levity.
Parenting. The ultimate balance. And the ultimate test of our ability to notice the grains of sand that hold us up.