When I was pregnant, I had lots of prayers for my child. That she would grow in grace. Love people. Smile often. But the one thing I focused on the most, was that she would be braver. That she would face the unknown with courage, a certainty that God would catch her if she fell. I wanted the anxiety that has long plagued her Mother to make no home in her little body. I wanted her to never know the sensation of how paralyzing fear can be- how it can keep it from doing the things you love the most. Judging on how my Ellie is growing, Rich says I may have overdone it a little.
In this respect, my daughter is nothing like me. She will find the highest point in the room and make that her destination. She dives gracefully off of couches. She splits her chin on hardwood floors. She climbs up slides and pushes herself back down, giggling wildly. She runs out of the backdoor, naked, to dance in the rain. She strolls up to lions in cages and calls out, “Kitty!” This is not a trait adopted through heredity, it is simply because of my prayer for her courage.
What I didn’t expect is what a profound influence her courage has had on me. Because, well, if she runs out into the rain naked, I have to run after her. And I had forgotten how fun it was- to run around in the rain. If she scales the highest peak, guess who has to follow close behind? Her pure delight in the unknown is as foreign to me as watching a movie in Greek- but, in some ways, it’s pretty contagious as well.
I’m certainly not fearless like my daughter. I still wake with anxiety attacks, fret over when we’ll all actually get some rest around here, leave paying the bills until after two cups of Chamomile and steer clear of anything too out of the box for me. But I do love the way she tries to jump off of the moving train at the zoo, and that she’d rather hang out in the cart at the grocery store so she can stand rather than sit in the front- that’s for babies. That she’s never afraid to stick her tongue out to try to eat something new- though she never eats much, of anything. But most of all, how she beckons me to follow her as if to say, “Come on, Mama! There are so many awesome things to do!” I’m going to try to take her up on that before she’s too old to want me as playmate.