I’ve always said that the part of parenthood I have had the hardest time coming to terms with is the wide open vulnerability of loving another soul so much. The force with which it hit me after you were born was unlike anything I had ever known. I spent the first months of your life worrying far too much about anything that could possibly harm you. I drove myself crazy. It made me unreasonable and it felt consuming and it was a long road for me to find the voice of reason inside myself to balance it.
My first instinct is to always jump in and be the barrier between you and the world. I want to protect you from everything that could potential cause you harm or sadness. More and more every day, I find myself having an internal battle between the part of me that wants to fix everything and the part of me that knows it’s important for you to learn to trust in yourself and your own abilities to navigate new experiences.
That voice of reason that it took me so long to find after your birth - it is growing stronger and louder with each year that passes. While every cell in my body wants nothing more than to be a helicopter mom who shadows your every move, I know that is not what you or Arlo need from me. I am always trying to toe the line between keeping you safe and giving you enough space and encouragement to find your own way. Let me tell you, sweet girl, it is incredibly hard at times.
I’m sure I will annoy you many times as you grow up with my cautious nature, but I also know that I can’t fix the world for you. I can’t bubble wrap every surface, prevent you from ever being hurt or keep out all of the bad that exists in this world.
I can’t do it. And what kind of life would that be anyway?
Today I watched you climb to the top of a rope ladder on the big kid side of the playground. Your little hands held on so tightly as you went higher and higher and everything in me wanted to go and put a hand on you. But instead I stopped, took a deep breath and said to myself, Let her climb.
I stood a few feet away, every muscle in my body ready to leap forward should you slip, but I stood my ground and smiled and told you that you were doing a great job.
The look of pride on your face when you reached the top by yourself assured me I had done the right thing in staying back.
It again reminded me of the internal battle I will fight until you and Arlo are grown. I will fight it on your first day of school. And the first time someone breaks your heart. And the first trip you take away without me. And the day you get your drivers license. And the day you move out of our house.
I can assure you that at every turn, a voice inside me will be shouting. “Wait! Stop! Let me help you. Let me go too.”
But the reasonable side will win, as it always does.
I will tell you how much I love you and remind you that I am here if you need me. Every part of me will be waiting eagerly to give you support or encouragement should you ask me. But I will do my best to take a step back, and whisper to myself again
Let her climb.
Wave to me from the top, baby.
I love you,