As I picked up my toddler from day care, his teacher approached me positively beaming. “He attempted to climb out of his bed today at nap time,” she explained with a big grin. Though he sleeps in a big boy bed at home, his bed at day care is one of those portable cribs. To my eyes, there is a fairly significant drop from the railing to the floor below. For many care givers, reporting that a child in their care is putting themselves into a potentially harmful situation isn’t something to be excited about. At least it isn’t something to be positively excited about.
But my little lord tyrant has always had a way of redefining expectations.
In an earlier post, I wrote about how my son has hypermobility and how difficult it was for him to catch up to his peers in terms of motor skills. If that challenge hadn’t been bad enough, according to his last several check-ups, it is likely he’ll inherit his height from my side of the gene pool. Poor thing. My height hasn’t been considered average since before the 1900s. The crib wall comes up to his shoulders. Therefore if he is able to successful pull his entire body weight over that height it is an impressive achievement, even if earns a few new bruises as a trophy.
The conversation reminded me about the multiple weeks we spent with the physical therapist. Once he achieved walking, each follow up appointment started by placing him on a baby treadmill. His therapist explained to me that in order to build up muscle mass in his legs, he had to first tire them out. He had to make his muscles strain and suffer in order to build up their strength. The phrase no pain, no gain, came to mind.
Pain is a funny thing. It warns us when there is something the matter so that changes can be made before more permanent damage is done. Without the sensation of pain, you might not realize that you need to remove your hand from a hot pan on the stove. If we are lucky, an unexplained pain can send us to the doctor before a tumor becomes un-treatable. While pain is something most of us would like to avoid, it is a necessary component to continued health.
Pain can also be the world’s best teacher. If we never experienced hurt, and life’s other lows, we would never truly be able to fully appreciate their opposites. If we never pushed ourselves to our limits, we would never fully learn the extent of our capabilities.
I’ve begun work on my third novel. With each project the task has become increasingly more difficult. I am in the process of making a few edits to An Uncertain Faith, and plan to be releasing a new edition in the coming months. Additionally I still have to finalize the cover design for the second project and begin rolling out its release. Finding the time to fit in the writing of a third novel, a sequel, is no easy feat.
But in someways writing the third is significantly easier than writing my first two books. It is a sequel. I know these characters and their setting. I know what it takes to pull their story from my mind and put it to paper. I can plan my schedule accordingly and have given myself a much longer runway. I may at times feel like I am straining myself, trying to do so much, but it’s made my determination to succeed that much stronger.
If I am asking my toddler continue to push himself, the least I can do is to do the same.