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Instead of A Balance Beam, We Got A Teeter Totter

Alethea Mshar
Special needs mom and Blogger
09/20/18  2:05 PM PST

Balance is a bit of a buzzword of late. As with many other things in our society, we are being told that we’re supposed to somehow achieve and maintain stability in a dynamic world. Not only that, but some of us are attempting this with children who have medical or developmental needs that fall outside of the bell curve that defines “normal”.

I don’t know about you, but for me and my family, balance is not a reasonable aspiration. No matter what we do, unexpected situations come at us from out of nowhere with alarming frequency, and all we can do is roll with them. Instead of trying to stabilize an inherently wobbly foundation, we prefer to replace the notion of balance with the concept of a teeter totter.

A teeter totter is made to go up and down. The whole purpose is to be dynamic, to experience the highs and to use your own weight and gravity to bounce back up when you get down. When you’re on a seesaw, it’s understood that when you’re down you won’t stay down, and when you’re up, the giddy feeling won’t last.

And such is life, perhaps more dramatically so when parenting children who have health and developmental challenges.

Striving for an unrealistic and unattainable goal like balance has only made the realities of my teeter totter life more frustrating.

I often find myself longing for stasis; for the comfort of predictability and the ever-elusive balance. I wish that gravity wasn’t so quick to pull me down from the soaring feeling of the highs, and that our lows didn’t crash down with a bone shuddering thump. Yet, striving for an unrealistic and unattainable goal like balance has only made the realities of my teeter totter life more frustrating. Rather than focusing on softening the blow of the downs, my efforts to avoid them only makes them harder to bear. Stifling the joy of the heights for fear of the ride down, has never stopped or even slowed the descent, but rather robbed me of the pleasure of the ride.

As I have learned to squeal with delight and kick up my heels on the ride up, and to absorb the shock on the downward dive, I find that my seesaw life contains excitement that balance can never provide. Then I remind myself when I’m crouched down low that I’m in the perfect position to launch and soar.

The balance beam looks fetching from here, but it’s not mine to walk. Longing for it will never bring me bliss. Instead I’ll seek to triumph in the highs and rebound from the lows of this teeter totter life I lead, because it really is the ride of a lifetime.

inclusion on the playground

Alethea Mshar is a Special Needs Mom and Blogger.

Read her blog, Ben’s Writing, Running Mom

Follow her on Facebook


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