Those two little words came spilling out of my beautiful toddler’s mouth, and everything around me went silent. A lump formed in my throat, as she looked at me through her big green eyes, that caught me so off guard, because WHY? Why does she feel that way at two years old? Shouldn’t she feel invincible? Does she really think she can’t? Is she confusing it with ‘I don’t want to’?
I just stared. I had no idea how to react to her. I wanted to tell her fifty different things… I wanted to let her know that it was ok to tell me that. That I will always acknowledge her feelings. I understand her reservation at the situation. But I also felt like I needed to empower her. Support her. Push her. Tell her BABY, YOU CAN.
We all know that motherhood is definitely not sunshine and rainbows all the time. But holy moly some of this stuff hits you like a ton of bricks. A good friend of mine does a daily vlog and yesterday she was talking about the fact that we get one shot at life and really shouldn’t live in fear of the unknown. Swim in the ocean, skydive, do things, even if you’re afraid. Push yourself. She also made the point that the same goes for our children and others that we care for… we can’t hold them back because we fear the ‘what if’. This is their life. THIS. IS. THEIR. LIFE.
That statement hit me. Not because I didn’t know that. But to think of it that way… This is the beginning of their one chance. This is the foundation of their lives. And my kid is saying “I can’t”. In reality it was not as big a deal as what this post is making it sound like. But I really took the moment to heart. I don’t want her to ever legitimately feel like she can’t do something. I want her to believe in herself.
Being a mom of a wonderfully spirited, funny, determined, smart little girl is infinitely rewarding. She is not really a go-with-the-flow type of kid. She has opinions. Strong opinions… and she likes to understand what is going on around her. Maybe it is part of my personality, or what I do for a living, but I enjoy explaining things to her. It is part of what makes her who she is. She is a sponge, and like I said, she is smart, so not a lot gets by her. An upside is that now we can explain things and reason with her (and maybe throw in the occasional bribe – ice-cream works wonders).
Raising her and her little brother is the biggest part of my “one life” now. So, even though it is challenging at times, I will do everything in my power to raise them properly, so that they deeply understands her capabilities.
My parents never doubted me. They pushed me to always be better, and believed in me even when I wasn’t sure why. Sometimes I felt lost or unsure, but I knew without a shadow of a doubt that if I took a leap they would be there to cheer me on and help me succeed. Now that I am a parent I understand their passion. That is who I want to be for my children.
Every day I make a point to look at my daughter in the eyes and tell her exactly why I am proud of her. I tell her how she makes me happy. I tell her that she is smart, and funny and kind. Don’t get me wrong, I tell her when she is being cranky and unkind as well. But I don’t dwell on the negatives. She may only be 2, but she is genuinely a kindhearted kid. It’s easy to be proud of her, but I don’t take it for granted. I want her to grow up knowing who she is and being confident in herself. My heart will break if she ever feels like shouldn’t outwardly be who she is on the inside. Because I know that person is beautiful.
If ever the day comes when she actually believes that she can’t do something, I hope that she will still be comfortable coming to me like she did today. With those big, worry-filled green eyes. I will always be her safe place, and I will always believe she can.