Sticking the Landing

In gymnastics, when you plant a tumbling pass, ring routine or vault dismount with both feet hitting simultaneously and not moving, they call it “sticking the landing”. In baby-rearing, when you’ve managed your baby to sleep and you stand up from the rocker, place her gently down into her crib, and remove your hands without her budging, they call it “sticking the landing”. And I suck at both.

Well I’m actually not sure if I would be terrible at gymnastics; that’s just an assumption. But I promise you I am most un-good at keeping Emerson Kate asleep during the transfer of arms to mattress.

It amuses me that she can fall asleep next to me, lamps on, propped up on a sofa pillow, blasting the Netflix web series How to Train Your Dragon, all while getting her nails clipped. But at 2:45 AM when I accidentally, and very lightly, tap her heel on the top rail of her crib while attempting a soft landing down to the mattress after a bottle of milk, you’d think I took an adrenaline-filled syringe and Pulp Fiction-ed it into her heart. Then we get to start all over again.


This high-level of difficulty must be why all those gymnasts thrust their arms into the air in a victorious “V” gesture just for not moving their feet on the landing. I know this because that exuberant jubilee that comes upon me from a successful baby-dismount, makes me pump my fist Michael Jordan style or perhaps stand over her crib and flex my bicep Muhammed Ali style. If I ever stick that landing that is. If I ever.
Jess and I have been listening to The Village Church’s Matt Chandler preach on The Apostles’ Creed (important note: not a sermon about Apollo Creed, the popular boxing character from the Rocky films). One of the podcasts in particular focused on our innate inability to trust in God’s infinite power and how we rarely confess to that sin which manifests into so many other sins. Don’t believe me?  Go listen here.

Listening to part of the message while together one night, and then listening to the end separately, stirred in both Jess and I a conversation of admitting to one another our continued faults with patience.

We, as parents, as humans, as husband and wife, as believers, as employees, and as everything else that we are, are trying to work as a team to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Oddly, we’re a great example of what Aristotle had in mind when he wrote that book in Metaphysics. We truly are greater when working together in the same direction with the same goal, which really is just getting through the day.

It sounds bleak in that sentence. Just getting through the day. But I don’t see it like that. I see us in the evenings as something to behold. Its fluid, its beautifully chaotic, and it makes me happy that once we put Emerson to bed or to dragon-watching, we can clean up the messes in peace. And maybe that’s the way we’re really “sticking the landing”. If not, then I’m just going to bubblewrap the entire crib.

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