Asking for Balance

‘And you’re punishing me for reading,’ Delph yelled, her eyes really welling up, ‘and it took me years to learn to read!’

I sat back like I’d been slapped. Delph really did take years to learn to read. She only started reading independently last year. Oh dear. I almost felt sorry for her too – until she blurted, ‘And my right side was taken away from me!’

I sat back up. ‘Delph. Your right side is still there. It’s not like a shark bit it off. I’m staring at it right now.’

Her tears had already started though. I’d been too late to stop them. ‘You know what I mean,’ she muttered.

‘No, Delph, I really don’t. Your right side is literally still attached to your body.’

She grimaced at me. I’d gained some ground in the conversation – and we both knew it. There was some logic to hold onto now. Of course, I knew what she meant with her right-sided hemiplegia, but I couldn’t show her that bit. Not right now.

It’s Delph’s prerogative to have a little dip sometimes. Not everyone can be Oscar Pistorious. We all know what happened to him. Plus, he really did have a missing limb.

No, this upset was definitely my fault; for suggesting Delph read less and got out more. I might have also have hidden her iPad. But Delph is rarely upset – especially since she’s been on Quest. Is it the calming sway of the ocean? The sense of sailing freedom?

Perhaps. Mostly, Delph lives the life of bloody Riley on this boat. She has been anyway, reading away. She occasionally swims. Scuba dives with more regularity. Does artwork when she feels like it. And she has a specially-designed school curriculum to work with. It took us years to put it in place. It’s the schooling equivalent of Goldilock’s porridge. Just right.

Her tears now were from me telling her she needed to redress the balance. Hours in bed reading, for months and months now. For overall fitness and wellbeing, this just can’t cut the mustard.

Oh crap. I’ve just realised I’ve described the lives of millions of people since approximately March this year. At the same time, I know I’m right with Delph. She needs to get out more. Swim. Just get out of bed. Stop bloody reading! The irony.

Being a good parent really means doing the worst jobs. Those cruel-to-be-kind moments. Here I was, getting the guilt tears to the dramatic degree. And it was time to mop up.

Out came the list of how this child is amazing. In fairness, it isn’t difficult to list the ways. I did have to laugh when I mentioned the scuba diving – and she started tearing up again.

‘Why can’t I dive deeper than 53 metres?’ she squeaked. ‘That’s not fair either!’

‘Uh, probably cause you’ll get tunnel vision and black out Delph. And to be honest, I could do without the insurance claim.’

Ok. First small smile. I smiled back. Come on balance.

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