The narrator of "The Leap" states that she owes her continued existence to her mother three times. If her mother were not in great physical condition, the narrator would not be alive.
The first time that the narrator owes her existence to her mother is, of course, her birth.
If Anna Avalon had not saved herself from falling when lightning hit the main circus pole, the narrator would never have been born. Anna was in great physical condition, and as she was falling from the collapse of the circus tent, she twisted her body toward one of the wires that was sizzling from the lightning that had run down it. She grabbed this wire and saved her life.
The second time the narrator owes her existence to her mother began while her mother recuperated in the hospital from her burns and accidental breaking of her arm by one of the men who rescued her. While Anna was in this hospital, she fell in love with her attending physician, who was a specialist in complicated breaks. He fell in love with Anna and taught her to read. Because of her healthy nature, Anna healed and became pregnant with her daughter, the narrator.
The third time the narrator owes her existence to her mother's health and great conditioning and talent because her mother rescued her from a fire when there was no way to reach the girl. Trapped upstairs in her bedroom with the fire climbing the stairs to her room, the narrator feared for her life.
The babysitter, who had been asleep, awoke to call the authorities, and ran outside the girl's window. Volunteers drew water from the fire pond and sprayed the outside of the house. They were going to try to reach the narrator, but they did not know there was only one stairway, which was already lost to the fire.
Truly, there was no one who could have saved the child but her acrobatic mother. She took off her clothes and, in her bra and girdle, climbed a ladder to balance on a branch and leaped onto the roof of the house. Then she hung upside down by the backs of her heels as only a trapeze artist could. Next, she called to her daughter to open the window and make sure it stayed open because she would come inside. She then swung down with ease and crawled into the window to grab her daughter. Together they leaped gracefully onto the fireman's net.
Without doubt, Anna Avalon's having taken care of herself allows her to give birth to her daughter and care for her in ways almost no one else could.