We are walking through the parking lot talking proudly about our kids. He says “little boys learn how to fall” referencing his son’s propensity to spend hours tossing and diving on the ground to catch a football. I’m so floored I almost stop walking, stutter mid stroll, at the truth of this. As I listen to him talk of his exploits as a kid and of his boys, thoughts of how epilepsy has turned me into a helicopter, overprotective, on edge, scared Mom who has taught my children neither to fall or fly, but only to assess and avoid danger, invade.
My oldest, my fearless son, often left me holding my breath, squeezing my eyes shut and offering silent prayers that he wouldn’t break anything this time.
My middle child I encouraged to climb one more branch, hop back on the bike, I believe you can do it! Put that one on a stage and they shine.
But my youngest? My special needs child? I often said “sit down, okay”? You don’t want to hit your head again. What if you have a seizure right now? Are you making safe choices?
I lost my place of yes and replaced it with trepidation, warnings and “be careful”! I preached caution and safety.
I’m sorry my loves. I wish I could go back and say yes more. I hear sayings like “Fortune favors the bold” and “No risk, no reward” and I physically flinch. Our whole life is a risk. It’s constant vigilance that if she goes down we can protect her head, her face, her arms that bear the impact but can’t brace for it. I don’t need to seek adrenaline rushes, I need a break from them.
But I hope, Haley, as you enter these teen years that you learn how to fall. I hope to help cushion the blow when I can, but say yes as often as possible so I can see you shine when you fly.
And more importantly I hope to teach all of my children to fly. To pick themselves up, dust themselves off after a fall, be resilient and confident and worry less about skinned knees and broken hearts. Just to worry less actually. Embrace life, risk and all, and the reward of experiences.
And in this post divorce life navigating new relationships and parenting I am again finding my place of yes. For my children, for my partner, for myself. Risk (physical AND emotional) and reward.
Because “what if you fly?”