Sticking the Landing

In a recent Olympic-inspired blog, one of my colleagues made an analogy that good writing is all about knowing what it actually means to “stick the landing.”

It’s not just about driving the point home, but we need our readers to understand why that point is so important..

“Oh, we say all the right things – but it will have the same effect of ‘stick the landing’ – unless you take it a bit deeper,” wrote Diane Burley, MarkLogic.

As I writer, I can relate to this.

But I can relate to what it means to “stick the landing” a hell of a lot more as a mother.

Last week, my older son injured himself playing kickball (yes, kickball) at camp.  After nine hours in the hospital and three attempts to reset his bones, we settled in for a few weeks of a broken arm and a sprained ankle.

Since then, we have set up camp in my family room with a cleverly built (if I do say so myself) obstacle course of Olympic proportions to get the poor kid to shit, shower and shave. He’d KILL me for saying that.

The starting line is the couch. At the signal, he rises to his feet and then uses my shoulder as his crutch (did I mention this is a team sport?) for about 10 feet. Once there, I lower him to the floor to a seated position at which point he scootches to the edge of a set of two stairs. There, I am at the ready with a rolling – and swiveling –  stool, holding it steady while he positions himself squarely on it.

From there, it’s another 10-foot roll to the bathroom with an assist from me, but only if the wheels get stuck between the tiles. He positions his ride in front of the slight step into the bathroom (which, by the way, I never even noticed was there because it never mattered), and does his dismount into the bathroom to tend to his business.

The event does not end there though. The second leg of the course is even more challenging.

My oldest makes his way back to the rolling stool parked outside the bathroom with me as his spotter. It’s another 10-foot roll back where he shifts his butt from the chair to the stairs.

From there, he lifts himself up onto a carefully placed two-step step-stool, spins his body around and raises to a standing position. I act as the Mom-crutch once again while he hobbles back to the couch.

It’s exhausting for me. I can only imagine what it’s like for him.

Sometimes, one of us (yes, me too) stops and cries in frustration, but we urge each other forward because we know the finish line isn’t far. We also find some solace in the fact that the entire event will only last a few weeks and won’t even be included in our games in the future.

Our performance is certainly not medal-worthy and we may not always stick the landing.

But at least the landing isn’t sticking it to us.

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