Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Dear Eisley, I promise I won't always catch you when you fall...
And it's scarier than I'd like to admit.
Sometimes my motherly urge goes against what I know will be best for my daughter in the long run. The urge to catch her every time I see her beginning to slip. To shield her from all forms of pain and suffering, to hold her close to my breast and whisper constantly in her little ears that everything will be alright. That I will always be here for her. That I will always protect her. That I will never let her fall.
The thing is, I know that would be detrimental to my beautiful little girl's development both as she learns simple things like how to stand on her own and how to walk, and as she learns complicated things like how to navigate love and a broken heart. My own heart literally aches as I think about Eisley hurting in those deeper ways someday, but I also know that I cannot shield her from life. I cannot catch her ever time I see her slip. I cannot refuse to let her learn that she is, in fact, perfectly able to stand on her own. Well, not completely on her own. She can stand strong in Christ.
You see, as counter-intuitive as it seems sometimes, we have to let our children fall, fail, get hurt, and just plain mess up sometimes. Let the reader understand- I am NOT in any way shape or form saying that we shouldn't protect our children from real danger, and I am certainly NOT advocating negligence here. I am simply saying that if we refuse to let our children experience pain, disappointment, and failure that we are actually robbing them of something amazing. Something vital to their success in this life.
We are robbing them of the ability to see that they can pick themselves up, dust themselves off, have a good cry if they need to, but ultimately learn that they can overcome obstacles and pain. We steal from them the vital skill of learning from their mistakes. Because if we never let our children make mistakes in the first place, there is no way for them to learn from them.
So Eisley, this is my promise to you.
I promise to protect you from the things that would hurt you deeply as much as I can, but I also promise not to stand behind you like a shadow in your life, like a protective talisman to ward off all ills. I promise to let you fall sometimes, both literally and figuratively, so that you can learn that you are strong, resillient, and perfectly capable of getting back up and moving forward. I promise to teach you, to the best of my own broken ability, to put your faith in the strength of your Heavenly Father before your own. You see, sometimes we just can't pick ourselves back up in our own strength. You are bound to experience times like that, but the Lord will pick you up if you let Him.
Sweet Eisley, I promise to let you learn unhindered by my constant worrying. I don't want to be the thing that holds you back in this life. I want to cheer you on, encourage you, guide you, be there for you... but ultimately I want to instill this one thing in you- no one can live your life for you, and you cannot live in fear. So as terrified as I will inevitably be the first time you decide to run full-tilt down the hallway, I will cheer you on and stand to the side. Even if you stumble over your own inexperienced little feet and fall. I will try my best to give you a minute before running to save you so that you have the opportunity to brush it off, pick yourself back up, and continue running your race. As scared as I may be to drop you off for your first day of school- where I can't watch you and help you and teach you throughout the day- I promise not to hold on to you in a desperate hug if you are ready to walk away into your classroom, confident and excited.
There are so many things that I could promise in this life. There are so many responsibilities that I carry as your mommy. It is a terrifying and awe-filled thing to raise you knowing that one day you will walk away from my arms for good, a confident, strong, Godly woman. There is so much to consider and pray over, but for now this is what is on my heart for you.
Lovely, spirited, hilarious Eisley- I will do my best to help you without holding you back. But remember this my love, I am learning too. I will fall and slip up and screw up more than I would like along the way. Please try to be patient with me as I try to be the best mom I can be. It's not an easy thing, being a mom, but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.
So as painful as it was for me to watch my daughter fall and hurt herself, I need to stop and remember that this is a part of her journey, one of the ways that she will discover who she is and what she is capable of. Fear is a learned behavior- Eisley proved that to me when she immediately pulled herself right back up after I finally set her down. Instead of picking her right back up again so she couldn't fall once more, I just watched my daughter try again, and I quietly cheered her on from the sidelines.