Monkey Rung


It was one of those evenings.  

Where the dinner that cooked slowly all day and filled the house with smells of hearty stew, wasn’t enjoyed by all.

Looks of disappointment as they climbed up to the big bar stools.


“What’s that?”, fork playing with the stew-meat.

“I don’t see enough carrots”.

“Eeeew, I just bit into something mushy”.

“Mom, you didn’t cut up my meat enough”.



Some days this is easy to handle.  Some days I can anticipate it and roll with it.

But last night it just felt like one thing after another.

Once it became apparent that they weren’t going to eat any more of the stew -forks fiddling, looks from one sister to the other as if in some kind of dinner prison- I announced, “GET SHOES AND SOCKS ON, GRAB A SWEATSHIRT, WE ARE GOING FOR A FAMILY WALK”. 

I’ve learned enough about me that when feeling stuck in a rut inside, I need to get outside.  

It gives me a change of scenery.

It allows the girls to run.  and run.  and run.

Occasionally Rich and I can even have an uninterrupted conversation. 

It gives me a new atmosphere in which to have a new attitude.

Brisk air, brisk walk.


On our way back home, we let the girls play at the park.  “We aren’t staying long, girls”, I barked as they ran.  I watched Hadley follow big sis on the wobbly stepping stones that lead to the ladder, which lead to the monkey bars. Since Maycee was doing them, I knew Hadley would want to follow her.  I stood underneath her and supported her legs.


“No, Mom! I can do it, woch, Mom, woch me”. 


And there she went.  One bar to the next.  Hard concentration paid to the next rung, small adjustments made with ease to secure herself before advancing.


She made it across.  


I was too enthralled to take my eyes off of her; turns out Rich was equally enthralled.  We praised her.  As many times that we have tried to encourage her to do it, she did so this time, without our ever-present prodding.  She went straight to it, and showed us her new talent.  It was almost as if she was doing it for herself, and we just happened to be present to see it all transpire.  


All of a sudden what started out as a walk for ME (no, I’m not holding onto your sweatshirt, no I’m not slowing down you gotta keep up with me, no we aren’t going to the park yet because this is about ME ME ME not You You You, and why can’t you just thank me for dinner?), turned into a lesson of another kind.  When I softened enough to let them play —as all children inherently and undeniably want to do— I let go of what happened over dinner.  And because I was in the mindset of letting go, I didn’t think to bug my youngest about being bigger, stronger, more independent. 

And I was surprised by the tumultuous little ache in my heart that beat to the rhythm of her hands as they grabbed the next bar, that she is in fact getting bigger(grip), stronger(grip), more independent(grip).  She did it!!!!  Wait, she did it?


Behind the facade of the complaints, of the unfavorable routines that we as parents wish would change, they are growing up.  While I’m on the teeter totter weighing out the last parenting conundrum, they’re climbing higher, running quicker, pushing harder, riding faster.  


While we are busy trying to figure out this thing called parenthood, they are growing up.  


 © Houseman 2013