She stood on the edge, willing herself to go, but not quite able to take the leap. Her hands shook with the adrenaline pumping through her body. She started to leap, then stopped and took a step back. She looked to me for reassurance. I nodded my head. She started again, then stopped again. She willed herself to go, but reached for my hand. Just one hand this time, not two, but she still needed mom.
She climbed the tower again, this time willing herself to go. I could see the heart pumping in her chest, the nervous smile playing in the corner of her lips. “Count for me mommy,” she said. So I did.
One. Two. Three.
She jumped. She landed on her feet on the squishy carpeted surface and ran as fast as she could to me, a huge smile spread across her face.
“I did it Mommy, I did it! I really did it!”
She was still shaking from the excitement of it all, but a sense of accomplishment and healthy pride were there too. After many months of wish, she finally took the plunge and jumped from the top hay bale on the stack at our mall’s little play area. What seems like no big deal to the rest of the kids was a major milestone to my cautious daughter. And she did it over and over and over again, sealing in her heart and mind that she COULD do it.
That day it was a simple playground toy. Tomorrow it may be reading her first word, something she is too afraid to try yet, even though she is capable. The next day it may be making a new friend or saying lines at a Christmas program. In a few years it may be trying out for a sports team or auditioning for a play.
She is timid and unconfident, and as her mommy, I want to be there to hold her hand all of the time, and make life easy for her. But I can’t. There are some things in life she is going to have to experience for herself. And that's a good thing. If Mommy is doing everything for her, she will never learn to experience life for herself.
Parenting a sensitive child requires a special hand. You cannot force her to do something she’s not ready to go. You can push to hard, and then she will freeze and never try the thing again. Yet, she requires a measure of push, and a measure of confidence from mommy.
It’s a delicate balance, but the rewards are so great. Seeing that look of accomplishment, hearing that pride in her voice cause my own motherly love and pride to come surging to the surface.
That day it was a playground toy, but I can’t wait to see what it will be tomorrow, and I hope to be there for every minute of it!
Reading the Bible Together
5 days ago