She reaches up with her right hand first, grabbing the next rung of the tallest ladder in the playground, grunting as she hoists her right foot up to the next step. I stand on the ground behind her, cheering, encouraging, coaching.
"That's it, baby. You've got it. Now your other foot."
As she pulls herself onto her stomach on the platform, she lets out a high pitched shriek of joy, which little sister, arriving at the platform from the steps, echoes.
As she gets to her feet, raising her hands in triumph, she says, "mommy, am I strong like Kacy?"
"Yes, baby. You are."
Better writers than I have talked about how enjoying every minute isn't a requirement of motherhood, but still I feel the pressure. I think we all do.
And those of us who value honesty, authenticity, vulnerability, we want our readers to know it's hard. We don't want to write just about the moments when we look like heroes. We don't want to make others feel bad by celebrating too much or for too long.
A few months ago, my tiny ninja warrior participated in a study on how children of parents with depression process their own positive emotions differently than those with mentally healthy mothers. I don't know the outcome. I'm afraid to hear it.
I don't want my girls to ever do anything but shriek for not when they get to the top.