25 November 2010

I Can't

These words came from the top of Jenna's favorite tree. The Very Top. Her goal for many months.
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She has about one full minute of joy, before suddenly I hear, "I can't get down! I'm stuck!" Am I a gentle nice lovely mama? The following may make you rethink your opinions, folks. ;)

"You FEEL stuck. You THINK you can't get down. It's OK to be scared. You can say it again - I'm scared, I feel stuck. You feel stuck.

But you are NOT stuck. You CAN get down. You are brave and strong and smart, and I know you can do it. You know you can do it. You got to the top of that tree - you can do ANYTHING!"

She was *really* scared. I knew she was scared, but I kept telling her she could do it. Even when *I* was scared, I told her that she could do it.

And she did.

I kept on talking her down - reach for that branch, feel for it, you CAN, you're doing great, you are safe, I'm right here - but I didn't go up for her, and I kept my own fears right out of my voice and my words. She needed me to believe in her, to be her cheering squad, to tell her that even though she was scared she could still do something AMAZING.

At least twice, I nearly had to close my eyes. At least once, I nearly sent Martin up after her (no way some of those branches were going to hold me!). I stood really close beneath her (just in case) and as soon as she got within reach I offered her my arms and she jumped to me and hugged tightly for the longest time.

When she let go, she was flushed and proud and her eyes flashed when she told me, "I ALWAYS KNEW I could do it."

Would it have been more kind to let her learn that her fear could rule her - cripple her from doing what she wanted to? Would it have been more trusting to tell her that if she thought she couldn't, then she *really* couldn't? It would have been maybe a lot more nice.

I saw her strength and her ability, and I thought, that sometimes the right thing to do is to let them be little, and sometimes the right thing to do is to let them be big - and go beyond what they thought they could. Sometimes I misjudge it. But, with the world squeezed tight into that twenty minutes, unable to see anything but the tree and my baby, we did something great together. I helped her to believe that she could, and she did.


  1. It takes great courage to let go and courage not to give in! I have to say I'm in awe of both of you!!

    Hugs San x

  2. Brave brave Mama and brave brave Jenna, well done to both of you.

  3. Wow, you both have such huge courage. So amazing that you have given her that.

  4. I think you did exactly the right thing. I always think of the big hard things we may have to help our children through - bereavement, terminal illness (God forbid but I have friends who have had to help their children die), pregnancy and childbirth, exams, job hunting, mental illness...all that stuff, and helping our little ones down from a tree (done that with both of mine!) helps them build their idea of themselves as big and strong and capable of surviving.


Penny for your thoughts? :)