Sliding Scale

I’m a kid again, clinging on to one of those tall steel slides at the local playground. I’ve been working my way up the slide from the bottom; hand over hand, feet slipping.  My grip is slick with the strain. I am so close to the platform that can see the wood grained ends of the planks, right at my eye level.  I shift my gaze to the macro view of peeling paint on the iron frame. Fix my sight, right there. So close! My shaking arms are holding my weight but I need to let go to reach the edge! 

I lunge for it and lose my grip, clutching wildly for the sides as I slip backwards, defeated. I  land unceremoniously on my backside in the puddle at the bottom of the slide.  It was all for nothing. I hear laughter as I move to stand.
“Never mind, you’ll make it when you’re bigger” my sister says. I am embarrassed and inadequate. I glare at that slide and the nasty kids over on the swings and stomp off to the bench.  Who needs to make it to the top anyway?   Stupid slide.



I have a to-do list for today.  Nothing odd about that, I’ve got a normal first world obsession with lists and accomplishments.  Like many women, looking at their lists this morning, I look at mine and think ‘I can’t do it, I haven’t a hope of getting through that list’.  A wisp of a dream image ghosts across my mind. Sheer slippery metal glinting across my subconcious.  I know that I do want to make it to the end of that list.  Very badly.  I want to feel what it is like again to achieve something.  To stand on the platform, King of my Castle.

There are three things on it.

Two are online banking tasks.
One requires getting up, getting dressed, going to the hospital and seeing my General Physician for our regular check up.

And I recognise, that the girl I used to be would have chewed through that list in no time. Bam. 
Not anymore.  It seems like my lists are getting shorter and my efforts to achieve them are bigger than before.  It’s a sliding scale.  I have reduced my expectations about how far I can walk, about how much I can be involved in school, about work, about social gatherings, about mothering, being a wife, a homemaker, an do-er.  I even modify my view of what ‘feeling good’ should feel like.  I make my ‘normal’ from the abnormal. I shrink my expectations of what I should achieve in a day, yet I never make it to the top of my expectations.  How small must they be?  And why do they seem bigger than before, even though I keep paring them back?



Source:  Andersen Layman


I’m at the bottom of that slide, looking up.  The ground I am standing on is eroding.  If I don’t jump soon, the slide will be too far away for me to even lunge on to it. I call out for my sister.  “Help me!” 
I can’t see her.  The playground is empty.  The slide looms above me, and I am a tiny thing, an ant. I haven’t a hope of getting up that slide.  I sit down and let the earth take me away in a rivulet torrent of rain and silt. I am tossed in the miniature rapids, growing smaller with each tumble.  Until at last, I am a speck of dust.  The sun beats warm down on my back.  And I, just am.
Sometimes, it is all I can be.


1Most of you know that I did an online course about blogging in May/June.  I have been learning from the maestro herself, Pip Lincolne.  Have you seen her blog Meet Me at Mikes? I’ve still got so much more to learn and things to do to improve things around here, so I have signed up for the next intake as well.  I’m going to be like a Year 8 girl this time instead of a Year 7 newbie.

When I signed up for the course, I didn’t really look into it too closely.  It was an impulsive decision.  I’ve been writing parenting posts for Kylie over at Nic-Nac since the beginning of the year and I thought it might be good to find out what constituted proper ‘blog writing’ so I could see if I was doing it right.  I didn’t consider the possibility that I might make friends!  But that is exactly what has happened.  You’ve already met some of them if you saw my post here, called Chain Gang.  It’s like I’ve been milling around the quadrangle of this cyber secondary school, scratching my toe in the dirt, noticing the people I think are really cool and then… I’m in their gang!  These are my people, I have found the kids who like to hang out in the library at lunch time or discuss poetry under the shade of the trees.  Kids who want to run for school council or paint the sets for the school play. The sometimes-rebellious-but-never-suspected-because-we-look-too-much-like-nerds-crew. My kind of people.

We have formed a kind of community that will carry on long after the course has finished.  It’s a lovely place to be. A common room full of bright bean bags and big ideas, questions, learning and lots of support.  This week, our teacher, Pip, has invited us to join a ‘linky’ on her blog.  If you head on over there you’ll see links to all the blogs created or perfected during the May intake.  I’m there too, hanging out with the kids in the common room.  Come and have a cuppa with us.  Today we’re talking about five things we are loving right now.

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I am loving my red scarf.  It’s a deep, deep red.  Warm and super long, it covers my tummy when it is embarrassingly distended.

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I love my family.  We are many.  Last night there were eight around the table.  My immediate family is four, but we have two teenagers (from other mothers) who live with us too, my sister-in-law is staying, and last night, my daughter’s bestie was with us as well. She and her family are so much a part of our family that when we’re together we call ourselves by our hyphenated surnames.  Their close proximity to us in distance and heart gives us a true community, right here in urban Auckland.
It’s big and beautiful, my family.

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I love sunshine on my shoulders.  The winter sun is so much more appreciated by me than the summer scorch.  I love being right here on my bed while the sun inches it’s way across my feet and up, until it blankets me entirely in warmth.

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I love being around extraordinary women.  Recently I had tea with my sister in law and my Granny, two inspirational people who help me to be my best self.  Time with women is good for the soul.  So is a cuppa.  Put them together,  ahhhhhh, bliss.

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I love tea.  Warm, liquid love.  That’s what a cuppa is to me.  Comfort; me time, restorative repose.  A hiatus, a tiny, hand-held hug.  I love a good cuppa.  Thanks Pip Lincolne for inviting us all to have a cuppa tea with you.  Click here and see what Pip and the Pipsters are loving at the moment.

Might just go pop that kettle on for another…

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