So I was running with my dog the other day; just my usual Monday morning run. I pop my children on the school bus and set about trying not to look too gleefully free after a weekend of inevitably
tiresome concentrated time of tying to keep children amused whilst getting the washing done close family time. I walk most of the way but usually can’t contain a bit of a gallop. Last Monday’s gallop was especially bouncy. I can’t remember why, someone must have lost their shoes on leaving time or something, but I was definitely in a glorious gallop – spurned on by the big ‘how great is this running together thing?’ smile on my dog’s upturned face.
I remember – because the Tassie spring had done it’s na-na-nee-na-naaah thing and turned nasty – that I was even running a little harder for the cold and a bit of body heat. It felt great.
Then the dog must have got overcome with love because he came close enough to rub on my leg and trip me completely over. And I mean seriously over. I sprawled, I put our my hands, I hit gravel and skidded along on my right side. As I fell, I thought, “I’m falling”, which was not in any way helpful or enlightening.
I got up immediately, mainly because the dog was all, “Oh my gawd, you ok you ok?” jumpy and licking my face etc but also because we ego-driven humans are mostly more concerned about wounded pride than wounded skin, and I was probably worried that someone had seen me fall from glee to gutter with my dignity in bits around me. I need not have worried, there was no one in a bull’s roar of me, except actually for a few cows who probably would have enjoyed a bit of roaring bull. But still I felt like a bit of a dork.
It’s just not the thing for a grown woman to fall over. If I was older I could ‘have a fall’ with some good grace, but I think I’m still young enough to simply fall over. But as it turned out, it didn’t matter how old I was, because when I stood up and felt proper stinging grazey pain, I thought, “I want mum”. At 39 years of age, I was suddenly a little girl again, when grazes were a regular event. And I cried.
I cried because I’d had a fright and bits of me were hurt and bleeding, and I cried because it was ridiculous to cry and I should be braver and I wasn’t. I cried because there was suddenly so, so much to do just to get through the day and the rest of the week and the year and I didn’t know if I had it in me to do it all, what with bleeding hands and all. And I cried because there was no one to pick me up and give me a cuddle or even a hearty, “Up-a-day, you’ll be ‘right”, except the dog who has good intentions but no arms.
I was the most vulnerable I have been since I fell headlong in non-reciprocated love at age 19.
Then I pulled a few bits of myself together and properly assessed the damage – palms, elbow and thigh were all having a good old bleed and my tracksuit bottoms were missing a patch, but everything in the way of joints and bones was still working and while I toyed with the idea of calling my husband to collect me and taking the rest of he day off, I decided it was not actually necessary; tempting but unwarranted.
I continued – gingerly – on my way and all up lost only 15 minute or so off my usual time. A mere hiccup.
But I’ve been a bit hypersensitive ever since. The hiccup has turned into something of an interruption. My right hand throbbed and broke my sleep for a night or two and I had a sense of being very small and destructible, and not as capable as I might have thought. I wished my husband and children would ask me how I was and maybe offer to put help with the washing up. Night-heightened self pity I guess. The raw patches on my skin seemed to be letting in something pathetic.
I blew on my hands a lot, for some cooling relief, and I rubbed gently around the other grazes and was reminded that I am the mum around here, and while I am in the business of mothering, it’s okay to give myself a bit of simple tenderness once in a while because for one thing I deserve it and for another, no one else is likely to. I always thought ‘take care of yourself’ meant joining the gym and having your hair done, which frankly I have no time for, but it doesn’t have to. Taking care of myself might mean having some shameless self absorbed time or getting all pathetic without feeling guilty or undeserving or the control freak in me telling me to suck it up and zip it. You, Madam Control Freak can shut the hell up while I have a little sobby sob sob okay. I’m hurting.
Now, almost a week on, the grazes are healing; ugly and sensitive but toughened over. I am feeling tougher too, and I have a new empathy for my children when they fall over – which is often. I might do something more than the usual shoosh-kisses and a dab of dettol.
Then again, I might not. Maybe we all need a good fall over once in a while. I mean we could probably all do with the associated self-soothe skills, a humility sting, a bit of thickened skin and and a healthy dose of getonwithit.