April 2014: Be a Weeble

Be a Weeble

When I was a little girl I saw an ad for an amazing new toy, a little doll with a catchy slogan “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down”. My little brother and I tested this claim over and over as we tried to make our Weebles stay down!


Years later at a self-development seminar I was asked to come up with a slogan that described my life. I was at a particularly low point, Steve was struggling with his moods, my children were having a hard time dealing with the situation, my father (who lives in Spain) was diagnosed with dementia and my mother was rapidly losing her independence as a consequence of Parkinson’s disease. All of them were looking to me to organise their care, their moral support and their daily needs.


As I struggled to find a phrase that captured my present situation I remembered having dinner with a friend about a year after Steve’s stroke. I was describing a litany of problems that that I had been dealing with.  She listened quietly and then said: “it is as if you have been hit with a baseball bat over and over and you just keep getting up”.  Twenty years of karate had taught me to cover up and wait for an opportunity to get up and fight back. No matter how many times I fell down I never stayed down, like a weeble I have to keep getting back up. That was it my slogan: ‘Be a Weeble’!


In reality it is not that simple; it can be very difficult to be that weeble. In karate there were times when I was being kicked and punched and it seemed easier to stay down then too risk getting up and having the pain and humiliation of being knocked to the ground again. But I could always hear Steve’s voice, shouting at me not to give up, to get up and fight, to ignore a broken hand or foot and get on with it…and I always did.


I have just lived through a week where I hit the ground hard several times, my precious little girl had her tonsils out and reacted very badly to the medication, my baby niece was rushed to hospital and I had a series of calls from Spain to say that my father’s carer had simply left without a word.

When this was added to several other difficult ongoing situations I emotionally and physically hit the ground. Steve’s clear, strong voice is not there to help me any more and I could not work out how to pick myself up to carry on.


The day before Gina’s Operation was the start of Passover and I brought my girls to the Synagogue as always. While we were there a friend handed me a picture of my beautiful sister taken when she was full of life and full of hope. I remembered nagging her to come out and get on with things during her last year with us. She would tell me that she needed a few days to feel the sadness of having to leave her young boys behind. “Let me be upset until Tuesday” she would say, “and then I’ll come out again”. She was right, every so often you need time to allow yourself to grieve and  to feel the sadness before you get up again to face the next episode of your life.


I will always be a weeble but my sister taught me that sometimes you need a short rest before bouncing back to fight another day.


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