One of my “life plan” goals is to write a book. I truly enjoy writing and sharing stories through a lens of helping others through my own life experiences. I decided that instead of waiting until I have a full book intact and ready to publish, I would begin to share stories through my blog. Perhaps I will then compile them into a book further down the road.
So today I will bravely begin the sharing of my book through my blog…….the book will be called:
Metaphoric Rising: One woman’s journey through life …..motherhood, career, love, loss, and living with purpose written by Leslie Ann Buckley ….for all who journey through parenthood; careers and life.
The story I am sharing today is titled “The Playground.” The playground is a metaphoric journey of addiction and how that journey can feel on the addict and the parent. The learning; the lessons; the pain and the healing from loving and living with an addict. “Addiction is a family disease…one person may use, but the whole family suffers.”
It was a crisp beautiful day – the sky was extraordinarily blue with a bit of a gleam – a diamond like sparkle. The sun was beginning its journey to brightness – that mid-morning sunshine …… the day was on the verge of being the perfect early June day.
I want to go to the playground she shrieked – with a sense of urgency and energy it startled me. She wasn’t a playground type of girl – reading books; writing; playing the guitar and singing – that’s who she was……book smart and intelligent. She headed out the door with an energy so palpable you could feel it – determination in her step – she was off to the playground! No stopping her – this tiny little thing.
She entered the playground with a spirit and passion I had never experienced with her before. The playground scared me – it was a large organized infrastructure of swings and slides and jungle gyms. Dark tunnels and gliders; see saws; and spinning merry go rounds. Always lots of people navigating aimlessly through the playground – searching for a free swing or a friend or their son or daughter.
She immediately headed for the large slide and began to climb the ladder up to the top – “you are going to fall, be careful” I yelled to her…….she was climbing fast and I stood below sheltering the fall. She made it to the top and the slide was fast and slippery – with lots of twists and turns……she headed down. That little girl was flying down the slide – airborne at times. I was at the end of the slide as I knew she would fall and I caught her like a package coming off of a conveyer belt!
She looked at me – laughed at the fear on my face – and did as all do at the playground – headed back up the large slide again….braver than the last time. We did this for quite a while and I was getting exhausted from running between the ladder and the end of the slide – ready to catch the fall! When the slide lost its attraction and thrill – she moved to the giant interconnected jungle gym.
This girl who was not particularly athletic and typically afraid of heights took to the jungle gym like a pro – climbing and swinging through each of the connections of this intricate maze. I, the protector, would run around underneath …..always ready to catch the fall.
She was at the top of the jungle gym poised to jump and I heard someone call out from across the park – she jumped at the same time I turned my head – I wasn’t aware enough to catch the fall. I heard her scream and turned and she had gashes in her hands and knees. I scooped her up and we went over to a picnic table – she was crying and sobbing – “I’m sorry mom”. I wiped her tears, wiped her knees and hands …put band aids on her knees – she was sure to have scars from this…. Gave her a hug and said “it’s time to go”.
She jumped from the picnic table and adamantly said – “I am not leaving the playground”! I said “we are done here” and grabbed her hand and pulled her from the playground area out to the street. “We will walk to the new frozen yogurt store and get some yogurt and fruit – that will make you feel better”!
She tried to pull away – I held her hand tight as we walked down the street. She pulled away from me and ran back to the playground as fast as her legs could take her. I forgot what a good runner she was and reflected on her deer like cross country runs – steady, light, graceful and consistent.
I snapped back into the moment and ran back into the playground where I found her spinning on the merry go round with a few others. Each daring the other to jump off while it was spinning. One girl jumped and landed with a large THUD! That had to have hurt…….but the girl never winced or cried and looked to get back on that merry go round. I stopped the merry go round with my hand – pulled her off and again forced her out to the street to walk to the yogurt shoppe.
She was angry and screamed that she hated yogurt and didn’t want to go for yogurt – especially not with me. We walked in silence for some time – I held her hand so tight that it hurt us both. Arriving at the yogurt shop we sat and she was quiet – a silent brewing storm – wanting to return to the fun of the playground. I ordered and paid – turned to sit with her and she was gone. I heard the car screech – the tires that are locked and create that whistling noise as the driver applies the brake. The people outside near the street screamed and I rushed outside. There she was slowly walking back to me – almost the victim of a tragic accident – her careless reckless abandon to get back to the playground.
Years later I agree to meet her at that yogurt shoppe – there she sat beautiful and strong with a bubbly young child on her lap – her daughter who looked so much like her at that age. She rose to greet me – her short sundress uncovered those scars still on her knees from that fall. She embraced me. “Mom”, she said, “your scars have healed – I can’t see them anymore”. “Almost” I said, “almost”.
Four year later – he enters the playground slowly without the energy that she had – he cautiously entered and went to the small swing first and then navigated to a modest slide before climbing the jungle gym. The day was partly cloudy – the sun was beginning to shine through. I stood outside of the playground – holding onto the chain links with my hands – grabbing them so hard that the rust of the fence was coming off onto my skin. The sun began to shine ever so slightly on the back of my neck. He stood at the top of the jungle gym and carefully planned his jump. I stood there tears filling my eyes grabbing onto the chain links tighter as the metal bore into my hands. It took all of my strength and reserve to not rush in to save him from the fall that was coming.
He jumped. I stood.
He got up and came toward me. “It hurts mom”. “I know it does son”. I brushed him off I hugged him and I brought him to the street. The yogurt shoppe is that way I pointed. I will meet you there.
I met him there and he understood.
The scars are healed.
“The worst thing is watching someone drown and not being able to convince them that they can save themselves by just standing up.”