Both of my parents worked a lot when I was a kid. My dad would come home from the car dealership in his faded polo shirt around 7 or 8, and since my mom left work earlier, she was able to pick my brother and me up from school. Usually we would end up eating something greasy from McDonald’s or anything my mom could scramble to make in a short period of time because she had to help me with my homework and/or take my brother to his extra circulars. Our lives were busy, but my mom always managed to find time for us. Some days, she’d take us to a small zoo or to the park nearby, anything to entertain us. But on the days we didn’t leave home, she’d find something for us to do. If we stayed inside, she’d crack out the Play-doh and remind us never to mix the colors, or she’d make us review the multiplication flash cards tucked away in the desk drawer. On cool days if the sun was still out, my mom would bring out the gray bin from the garage and tip it over. Out came my baby pink Barbie roller-blades, my camouflage helmet, and of course my various padding. Wrist guards, gloves, elbow pads, shin guards, and knee pads. I was completely protected. All except for my butt. And to remedy that, my mom would take me out rollerblading in front of our house; she’d stand me up and then out of nowhere, push me. Of course, it’s easier to fall backwards so I’d fall on my butt and end up crying for a couple minutes, mostly out of the initial shock. Waiting patiently for my sobs to subside, she’d stand me back up.
“I told you, when you fall, fall on your knees. It won’t hurt. You’re protected there,” she gently scolded me.
She helped me up and pushed me again. This time, I fell on my knees. I looked up at her, proud that I had fallen in the correct fashion. Extending my hand for some help up, she shook her head.
“You have to learn how to get up by yourself.”
Getting up wearing roller-blades is incredibly difficult. You have to put one foot with wheels, on the ground and try to prop yourself up with your foot slowly gliding, all while trying to avoid falling and colliding with the pavement once again. It’s hard to get back up, but not impossible. Many times I ended up falling on my butt again. But other times I was successful, I fell on my knees, I avoided a lot of pain and then I picked myself up.
My butt represents my heart. What I mean is that my mom taught me how to protect myself. She taught me how to avoid getting hurt in which I would fall on my knees instead of my butt; essentially I had to protect my butt at all costs. And in the case that I did get hurt, she taught me that I can shake it off, I don’t need any help; I just have to pick myself up and keep going.
My heart is exposed, fragile and easily hurt; sometimes it’s easy to protect and other times I can’t stop it from being broken. But I always know that I, and I alone, with my scratched up knee pads and wobbly roller-blade clad feet, can pick myself up and keep on skating.