Making the leap

When Henry sees the top of a staircase, he accelerates over the edge like he enjoys that sudden-drop whoosh in his stomach. I’ve given myself more than one carpet burn leaping to grab his ankle as he disappears. We’re fitting stairgates tonight, and my grazed knees are grateful, but part of me likes to watch him do it. No fear. No testing the water. Just delight in his own movement: a giddy, headlong rush into somewhere he hasn’t yet been.

It’s the same with everything he does. He climbs high because he doesn’t understand falling. There’s grace in every crouch and reach. When he finds something new he can stand on, he cackles.

And me, with my backache and body image, my duck feet and flat chest and spare tire, I have years of weighing scales and mirrors behind me. Years of I’m-not-good-at-sport and don’t-photograph-me-from-the-side and four-pounds-too-heavy. Too frightened of the ungainly bump to earth to climb anything new. I am encramped with bodily limitations I’ve heard and made my own. I have an ear infection on the way and I’m filled with holy terror imagining my 5k run on Saturday. This is what being an adult means, but I do not want it for him.

I could learn from him, I think. Stretch and crouch. My body can do anything. Mattresses are for jumping on. Oh look, a drop into nowhere. Let’s see what’s over the edge.

For a gorgeous, gorgeous poem on babies and body image, see here

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Making the leap

    • Hi Meg! It’s true – they seem to be fundamentally connected to their bodies in a way that makes me quite envious to watch. Hope it’s not too late to learn it again. Thanks for reading!

      Like

Talk to me! I'll put the kettle on.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s