It’s terrifying being a mother.
Let me rephrase. It’s terrifying mothering MY child.
Joy is a suspiciously easy child. Don’t get me wrong, there are things that she does NOT like (so far this list includes stuffed animals that sing or dance, having to stop playing at the park, car rides where no snacks are involved, Mama feeding another child, and meeting new people who don’t have food), but overall she’s pretty easy. She comes when asked, sits when bidden, and has slept through the night since she was a month old. However, the child is terrifying. Why? Because she is fearless.
Climbing, always climbing trying to get to the top of things. On top of our moving boxes. On top of the cat food container, on the back of the couch. If it is off the ground, she wants to be on top of it.
I took her to a new playground recently, one that was designed for kids of a variety of age ranges. It has one of the steepest slides I have ever seen. Joy went right for it. I don’t think that she even saw the smaller, more age appropriate slides. They were garbage slides, according to her. Only the tallest slide would do. So she climbed up the steps, passed the tic-tac-toe games, went over the swinging bridge, and went down the slide first with grim determination; then with shrieks and giggles and much laughter. I followed along behind her, offering my hand, which got knocked away repeatedly. I followed, to make sure she didn’t fall or stumble or… you know die? But she kept going after it. She fearlessly went after the slide time and time again.
This is how Joy is. Fiercely independent when she wants to be, but anchored to Sam and me. She expects us to be there behind her, not in front of her or beside her but behind her. We’re allowed to be there in case something happens, but she believes the best that she can do it herself.
When I watch Joy at the playground, I wish I was more like that with my art. How would my life change, my personal and creative life, if I was as brave as my daughter to pursue the thing that I really want to do? To apply to the show that I really want to apply for. To paint as large as I would like? To create daringly and greatly without holding back? I wish I was more like my daughter. Fear and anxiety over getting rejected or failing is on my mind almost constantly. And so I pray, I pray that I would be brave and have courage. That I would live fearlessly knowing that someone has my back and will be there to catch me when I fall.