Getting back in the saddle

Like many kids, I loved horses. They were my favorite thing to draw, my favorite thing to talk about and my favorite thing to collect - in My Little Pony form, of course. I would have owned 10 real ones if I had my way, but Santa always seemed to forget that item each and every year.

When I finally got the chance to horseback ride for real, I jumped - first up and down and shrieking at a pitch only my dog could hear and then at the opportunity itself. Clad in pigtails and my favorite equine-themed tee, I mounted up - and was promptly tossed off when the horse got spooked. I went home with my shirt splattered in blood and kicked my basket of ponies across the playroom as though accusing them of collusion. It took a good long while for me to ride again.

I'm not an equestrian by any stretch today so what does this tale have to do with anything? In short, everything.

Getting back in the saddle - either literal or figurative - is one of the most important things we can do. It's easy to give up when the going gets tough (or embarrassing or completely off the rails) but refusing to do so keeps us moving forward. Think back to the days of getting a less-than-fantastic grade on a test or not making a particular sports team. Did you just shrug and settle? No, you studied extra and practiced more so that next time, your outcome would be different and better.

And this cycle never ends. After a mostly go-with-the-flow summer, this past month has had me navigating a completely new morning routine of getting two kids ready, out the door and to different schools on time, not to mention the after-school transition (aka Lex's taxi service) into enrichment and sports. We're a few weeks in and though our system still has its kinks, we're getting to a spot that works for everyone, one forgotten water bottle and pair of mismatched socks at a time. We'll have it sorted by Spirit Week. I hope.

So next time you forget someone's name despite meeting them on four separate occasions, genuinely apologize and make a mnemonic for next time. If you mess up parallel parking downtown as a group of teenagers looks on, give it another go before circling the block. Yes, both situations are cringeworthy and you wish they never happened, but they did. All you can do now is dust yourself off, straighten your proverbial helmet and giddy up, partner.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to the races: There's a pickup window I'm about to miss.

- Lex Silberberg of Hinsdale is a contributing columnist. Readers can email her at [email protected].