She was nervous. She hadn’t said so, but a mama knows her girl. Something about the way she sat and took in her surroundings clued me in.
Shoot. I wanted this to be fun, but she’s scared.
Something in me screams to call it off. Rescue her. Take her out for ice cream. A bowl covered with candy sprinkles should fix this.
Instead, I swallow hard, smile in her direction, more brightly than I feel, and walk out the door.
She’ll be fine.
I think so.
I hope so.
This should get easier. I’ve done it with the squalling babe when I handed my child over to the nursery volunteer, and later when I dropped them off at a new class. I let go of the bicycle when they begged me to hang on and run alongside. I take them to therapy when they would rather not talk about hard things. It doesn’t get easier. The stakes get higher and the outcomes bigger, for better or worse.
It’s the dance of parenting. The one where we try to figure out just how much to push our kids. I know what my kids don’t. On the other side of this situation that seems too much for them, is where they’ll find some of the best things. Confidence. Empathy. A stronger faith. Delight.
I also know there’s a danger in pushing too hard. Someone needs to show me the sweet spot. How much should I nudge them forward or how quickly should I rescue when it’s too difficult?
I’m going to get this wrong from time to time and I hate that. This is the wild-west of the parenting frontier. It’s uncharted. Honestly, I’m scared too. I’m pretending to be brave right alongside her. When she’s 41, I’ll tell her so.
Yesterday was full of slow thinking and praying over difficult parenting choices. It was the kind of day one goes for a walk through the neighborhood three different times. The kind of day where you leave some doors open for your kids and hope they notice. A day that ended with arms wrapped around a child praying blessings, courage, and encouragement over them.
10 minutes after bedtime tuck-in, there was a knock on my bedroom door.
“I found this cool verse, Mom.” She stood there holding a book filled with encouraging verses I had picked up for her a year ago.
She read it to me.
Revelation 21:3-4: Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look! God’s dwelling is with humanity, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away.
I smiled and thanked her. What a lesson to end my day. What grace to realize I’m still learning right alongside my children.
Sometimes the result of not rescuing our kids is that they get to see God rescue them.
And we get to see God rescue us.