The Wish I Coulds by Tasha Halpert

Kathy's Kitchen Baskets I’m not sure why I was so uncoordinated as a child. Perhaps it was because I was tall for my age and my physical development had run ahead of my ability to manage it. I was fine riding a tricycle. Then came a two wheeled bike. Over and over again I fell off. It didn’t help that my bicycle seat was loose and kept wobbling, and that the sidewalks where I had to ride were bumpy. Once on the way to a friend’s I fell off and hurt my knee. A kind person stopped his car and brought me home. My parents thanked him, then after he left they scolded me for accepting a ride from a stranger. Perhaps they were right to do so, however I thought the man seemed nice, and I was scraped up and bloody and my knee was painful.

Even as an adult I had problems riding a bike. I’ve never known why it was so difficult for me when most people seem to have no problem doing that. I rode it to keep my children company until I finally twisted my front wheel, making my bike inoperable. I was secretly relieved. Skating too was difficult. I wanted to be able to glide over the ice, yet I had to be content with a few simple turns around the rink before my ankles became to painful to continue.

There are other things I always wanted to be able to do and never could, like run fast, or hit a tennis ball with accuracy. I had tennis lessons to no avail. The sailing lessons I took one year were a disaster. No one wanted me to crew with them because I kept getting my directions mixed up. School sports were a torment because I was so uncoordinated. It was difficult always being chosen last for any team regardless of the game being played. The people who were good at sports were always the popular one. In some respects my childhood was one long “wish I could.”

My hand-eye coordination seems lacking. Drawing presents another obstacle. I can draw what I might be looking at, and I enjoy sketching, but drawing from my imagination presents a problem. No matter how hard I try I can’t seem to transfer what I might envision to paper just the way I see it. And then when I manage to come up with something I like, try as I may I cannot reproduce what I have drawn so that it looks even remotely the same.

Do I sound like I am complaining? Perhaps I am. However, it is also true that there has been compensation for what I have I lacked. In my solitary childhood I read avidly and thus developed a large vocabulary. My vivid imagination helped me to write stories and poems and still does. Spending time outdoors by myself I learned to love nature and nature comforted me. Perhaps most important of all I developed compassion for those who are limited or unable to do as they wish. There are still things I wish I could do, however I recognize that they are not nearly as important as the things I can do, and for these I am grateful.

Advertisements