let it go

Step-touch. Step-touch. A sideways shuffle. My son looked up at me with anticipation as I recited the verses from memory. As I held his hands and guided him in a circle dance, his steps seemed instinctual and beyond his age.

“Ashes, ashes, we all fall down!” As I lowered my tired body to the ground, he hesitated–smiling–still standing and looking down at me. At 16 months, he had wobbled and stutter stepped and clung to couches with all his might in order to keep himself from falling. Standing was the goal, so I understood why his eyes questioned the fun in falling. But after a few more times through the song, he was letting his bottom bounce to the ground just like me.

Somewhere in the echoed verses of “Ring Around the Rosie”, he had let go of the lesson that falling was bad. He had quickly replaced an action symbolic of failure with fun and he laughed. Kids are flexible. They have a way of reminding adults that change can be as easy as letting go.

The past few weeks have been hard for me. Like where-is-the-positive-lesson-in-all-of-this-shit hard. These days, I seem to find the message in the mess at the most interesting times. Here, it was with my toddler teaching him an old song that lead to this lesson: letting go enough of the familiar to fall down can be fun.

Because we all fall down.