Bravery and Bravado

When was the last time you confronted your fears? Surmounted your uncertainties? Conquered your cant’s?

My kids remind me this week of the joy, the freedom that arises in doing so. They also give a little lesson on owning it, Usain Bolt style.

By smiling so smiley, so genuinely, that your entire being lights up. Your lips curve up sure, but your eyes shine too, your body straightens, opens, lifts, soars. Joy and pride emanate from you as surely as your own breath.

As you should feel when you rock climb a mountain. Learn to tie your own shoes. Ditch the training wheels and pedal free.

Yes, even a trip to the dentist warrants such a feel.

Where Kaya is nervous, but insists on going in on her own. Shyness is not always equated with confidence, yet here we are, quietly independent and sure.

And Brennyn has her first ever visit. She tells me, flat-out, “I’m sca-wed mamma.” And I know she is because she said mamma. After Kaya does her thing, it is B’s turn and I just love that she does not hold back her fear. She does not try to be stronger than she is or hide her fear for fear of looking weak. She full on says to me, to the hygeniest, to the dentist and to anyone else in hearing distance “I AM SCAWED!”

I tell her that it’s okay to be scared. I am here. She can be scared and brave at the same time.

Scared and brave at the same time. (My own words of wisdom whispering to my own lurking fears…)

With hands held tight, we walk in and I marvel at her all at once pulling back with her hand even as her feet move forward. Curiosity has got the best of her and she wants to see the moving chair, the enormous light, the funny instruments that suck your spit! Suddenly it’s seeming almost cool.

“Good job B! You’re being very brave!” comforts Kaya as she looks on with a real deal, proud big sis smile.

In that moment I am struck by the bravery and brilliance of my two kids. Then pause in recognition of my own bravery and brilliance too. For parenting, oh it is layered in uncertainty and fears and when these moments arise when you can just breathe in all the goodness, then feel with such certainty the love, well that is winning Gold at the Olympics and doing your victory lap with flair.

Some find this annoying, seeing it as egotistical swagger. But when preceded by hard work, sincerity and desire, I find the joyful bravado endearing.

“Wow Kaya, you’re a great climber!”

“I know mom!”

“Brennyn, 3-year-olds shouldn’t be able to ride on two wheels!”

“Yes silly! I do that!”

“Kari, you are doing an amazing job raising your kids!”

“Yes, yes I am!”

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