Poor David Beckham. So close to his goal of being the first Englishman to play in four World Cup finals he has torn his Achilles heel and is out of the squad. I have never really given a toss about 'Golden Balls'' career, but this week I felt his pain. It was at 9.45am on Monday that my knee injury finally won and I accepted the fact that I cannot run in the New York Half Marathon this weekend. Despite my repetitive knee twitching (see earlier 'I've got soul but I'm not a soldier' blog), acupuncture, massage, physical therapy, endless painful rolling, religious application of cortisone cream, daily stretching, cross training, agonising, medicating..never mind boring to death my poor husband with it, the flippin thing would not co-operate, it would not heal. So, at 9.45am, I finally stopped running, well, limping really and put my hands on my thighs, stared at the rain soaked concrete of the West Side highway in between my running shoes and cried. It felt like defeat.
My general attitude to everything in my life has been - if you put enough work in, if you really try, you will succeed. But hard experience is beginning to teach me that things are not always so linear. Sometimes, you need to curve it over the heads of the steely eyed defenders. It was the simple fact that I have tried so (too?) hard to fix myself, that I failed. Just like David Beckham, who has put everything on the line to get himself to the World Cup finals. Maybe sometimes, you can't just fix things by going straight at it, sometimes you need to bend it. So, I will spend the next few months trying to rest and work out the cause of my knee injury. I will then patiently coax my body back into accepting the fact that my brain wants it to hit the pavement, continuously for one hour or so. It will be a long, slow and probably painful process.
That said, there has been a golden lining to my running cloud. Having thrown the kitchen sink at my son's recent homesickness episode (see earlier 'Birthday Blues' blog), I tried a new approach with my daughter, who this week decided to jump on the 'Homesick Highway'. On Tuesday, when I dropped her off at school, I took a sneaky peak in her poetry book where she is currently writing a collection of poems. Her first poem was entitled 'I wish', I raced my eyes to the first line expecting to hear her usual plea for a puppy/mobile phone/five packets of bubblegum (why five, I have no idea). But, no, here is how it went: 'I wish I had a garden. I wish I had a slide. I wish I had a swing. I wish I had a summer house. I wish I could run around in the grass. I wish I could have a picnic with my friends in my garden'. Gulp. She was describing her old garden in St.Albans.
I was stumped. A garden is not something I can magic out of my hat in Manhattan. And, yes, I know she has gained a great many other things by coming here, but I still have that basic parental urge to give her what she yearns for, even if maybe it is not the best thing in the long run. But, this is a no can do. So, I decided to Bend it Like Beckham. I took out all the pictures I had of our old house, garden and friends. Over the last few days we have spent a lot of time together looking at pictures and talking about the things and people that we miss. We then talked about the things and people we like in New York. My theory is that by accepting the fact that some things are not the same, we will be able to build a stronger future here.
So, as I stand watching this ball hang in the air, I know I have already kicked it. It is too late. But, I watch, with hopeful eyes and a sore knee, hoping it will follow my intended conjecture and dip over the defenders heads and hit the back of the net.
yours from behind the half way line