In the Balance


Photo Courtesy Angie Harms/flickr

I stand frozen, struggling to decide whether to continue moving forward along my metaphorical balance beam or to choose to jump off to the right or to the left. To my right, there is laughter; to my left there are tears.

I have felt this way at other times in my life – most, but not all of them, in the eleven years since Sarah Kate was born. It’s the tug between the feeling that I am about to drown in the stressful details of life, and the near-uncontrollable urge to laugh at the absurdity of it all.

Most days, my life feels normal and ordinary, but there are moments when I look at what it has become and wonder how I got here. I am a rule follower, a planner, a person who thrives with order and schedules. I do the children’s laundry on a certain day of the week, grocery shop on another, dust, sweep, and mop on another.

The past few weeks have been nothing but chaos – not all of it bad or unpleasant, but still chaos.

The Princess Mile post that went viral.

A trip to Dallas.

A disgruntled former employee of Mr. Andi who showed up at our house late at night (long story short: he’s cooling his heels in the city jail…)

The boys’ birthday.

Our Minnesota Adventure.

runDisney came to town.

Minor-ish surgery.

A stomach bug that wiped out the whole family. (FYI: I don’t recommend a stomach bug on top of abdominal surgery…)

I’d say that I’m relieved March is over, but my mom always tells me never to wish my life way, and besides… April may be even tougher. We’ll be seeing Sarah Kate’s orthopedist soon, finalizing plans for surgery, and then dealing with all that it entails – weeks of non-weight bearing recovery, home bound schooling, and then rehab.

If I try to look into my life from the outside, I begin to feel a little panicky, wondering at what point my brain and cortisol levels will mutiny and leave me collapsed in a heap on my bed in the darkness. Best to keep my eyes trained instead on each foot as I take steps one after the other into the future.

So I continue to take steps, one at a time, knowing that at any moment I could falter, but knowing as well that the potential for laughter is as great as that of tears.


  1. says

    I love your image of walking a balance beam. I always imagine myself spinning dozens of my good china plates in the air– trying to keep them all spinning, trying not to let any fall and shatter. I started reading your blog after you reviewed a book I wrote– mostly out of curiosity. Writers always love peeking into the lives of others. But I have to admit, I’m hooked! I love reading about your life and your children’s lives– your joys and stumbles. This morning I was contemplating why I smile when I see that you’ve posted. I think it’s because while some of the challenges you face are different than those I faced when my children were the age of yours, different than the challenges I face now, as the wife of a wonderful man who spends most of his time in a his wheelchair, as a mother of young adult children, dealing with an uncertain world, that there’s a common thread that binds us, Andi. The joy and the determination you demonstrate in your posts makes me smile. It reassures me that there’s hope for the world and that there’s nothing more powerful than a parent’s love.

  2. Annie says

    Andi. There are so many ways that I suspect we are different ( I’m a non athletic, non- believer, big city, liberal ) but I KNIW EXACTLY WHAT YOU MEAN BECAUSE I AM EXACTLY THE SAME. I like, no need my routines and order. I haye when event ( even good ones though bad ones even more) conspire to steal away the rhythms of ” normal” life. When I can barely see down the road to when those regular days will be uninterrupted.

    My thought are with all of you!