Posts Tagged ‘safe’

‎”Please,” she said, over and over and over again. “Please can I go, please, please, please, please?”

I saw the pleading in her eyes, like she’d never wanted anything as much as she wanted this and, in that moment, I believed that she probably never had.

A year ago she was crying herself to sleep almost every night because she didn’t want to go to a new school. Didn’t want to leave her friends, didn’t want to start fresh, didn’t want anything to do with the plans we had made. We tried to convince her otherwise, tried to explain how much better it would be, tried to help her see the bigger pic‎ture. Of course it was impossible. Of course a nine year old can’t see the big picture. Of course she just wants friends and most of all, the holy grail of friends, the best friend.

“I promise I’ll be careful, Mom. I promise.”

I hated that she could see the fear in my eyes so clearly. That she could already see, even at her age, that it is the fear, my fear, that stands in her way. I smoothed down her hair and answered that I know she would be and that I would let her know later that day what had been decided.

‎They came to the door last Friday evening and once the girls were upstairs he said he wanted to talk to me about something. My mind raced through all the possibilities of what it could be and I hate to say it but all of them were negative. Did the girls get in a fight? Did something happen? Was something said that shouldn’t have been said? I’m always so bad at dealing with these situations, what if I don’t know how to react?

But it wasn’t bad at all, it was good. They were going away for a couple of days, doing something really fun, and they wanted her to go with them. She had been picked. Their daughter could bring only one friend and my daughter had been chosen.

My heart warmed for her; that she would be able to experience, if even only for a brief time, being the chosen one. She was now what she wanted to be so badly all those teary nights before. She was the best friend.

Some people seem to come into the world with a place already waiting for them, a spot in the sun where things just seem easier and smoother and softer. My son is one of those people. He draws attention and bats his eye lashes and has people of all ages commenting that he’s adorable. He makes friends effortlessly because he genuinely doesn’t care if you like him or not, so convincingly that you can’t help but try and make him like you in return. He has his own struggles but even they have an effortless quality to them. It’s not a matter if “if” but “when.” You get the impression that he sees the world as being full of possibilities and his greatest challenge is deciding what to try next.

My daughter, on the other hand, will seemingly always have to work to find her place. ‎She has a hundred amazing talents but is satisfied with none of them; constantly trying to prove herself to some silent critic. She cares if you like her, she cares more than she wants to admit. She wants you to like her but works incredibly hard to look like she doesn’t. She seems to see the world as being full of obstacles, coming at her one after the other after the other.

And now she had almost made her way over a big hurdle , if I could only get out of her way. I wanted to, I really did, but at the edges of my happiness for her, I felt the fear creeping in. How could I let her go? How could I pack her bag and send her off with these people I know only in passing? How could I wave goodbye to her and send her off without me?

But how could I not let her go? How could I say no when she had been picked, been chosen, and when I know she would have such a wonderful time? How could I say no to the chance for her to make such amazing memories?

“Please Mom, please! Have you decided yet? Please?”

If I said no, if I didn’t let her go because of my fear, of my desire to keep her safe in the only way I know how – by keeping her right beside me – then what have I taught her? I have taught her not to be careful, but to be fearful. I’ve taught her not to trust her instincts, but to mistrust everything around her. I’ve taught her that while someone else may have picked her, I don’t believe in her enough to let her be chosen.

And so I finally said “yes.”

I hugged her close so she wouldn’t see the tears welling up in my eyes.

“You can go.”

She yelled with joy and ran to start packing her bag although she wouldn’t leave for four more days. It’s all she talked about and she hardly slept from the excitement. And when she left it was my turn to say please.

Please be careful. Please don’t do anything you know you shouldn’t. Please stay safe.

Please take care of my little girl. Please don’t think I’m crazy for all of my worrying. Please treat her like I would. Please bring her back safe to me.

That was two days ago and now she’s back. She’s sitting here beside me on the couch, home safe and sound with lots of stories of all the fun she had. I smile and sit back to listen to her, the words spilling out of her, tumbling one on top of the other in a hurry to be told.

I just sit and listen. I won’t tell her that I didn’t sleep while she was gone. I won’t tell her that I thought about her every hour and that I was sitting on the stairs just inside the front door waiting for her to get back. I won’t tell her that when I saw the car pull into the driveway I went and stood in the kitchen so it didn’t seem like I was hovering, even though that’s exactly what I was doing.

I know this is just the beginning. I know there will be many more times spent sitting inside the front ‎door, looking at the clock and waiting. I know there will be more questions and pleases and trips and answers I don’t want to give. More waiting for her to come home safe from wherever she was. Hundreds and thousands of silent prayers sent out into the universe to watch over her when I can’t.

Always bring her home to me.

Always keep her safe.


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“Do one thing a day that scares you.”  For some reason this quote has been following me around.  Every where I look I see those black and red lululemon bags and that one statement seems to catch my eye each and every time.

Then today, I finally took a few minutes to think about what it means.  I wondered when the last time was that I did something that scared me.

Then I realized I did something today that scares me, and yesterday, and the day before that.

On the surface, when I thought about doing something that scares me I would think of rock climbing or scuba diving or holding a snake.  Something big; something I would never normally consider doing.  And then when I thought about it for another minute, I realized that since becoming a parent, fear is a constant in my life, every day, every minute of every day.

Today I did something that scares me.  Today I kissed my kids goodbye and sent them out into the world; I sent them off to school and hoped that they wouldn’t be bullied or teased or hurt.  I put them in a car and said a small prayer that they would be safe, that the person driving on the road with them wouldn’t be texting or talking or falling asleep.

I yelled goodbye to my husband on my way out the door, trying not to think about what would happen if he didn’t come home that night.  Because if I did, if I actually thought about all of the things that I do everyday that scare me, I wouldn’t be able to function.  I would surround myself with my loved ones and forbid them from going outside, from answering the door, from doing anything.  And we all know that’s not any way to live.

Doing something that scares me is not the issue.  For me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one, the difficulty is doing something each day that I enjoy, something that allows me to forget about the fear and the responsibilities and the “what-ifs” that are my near-constant companions.

As a parent, a wife, a daughter, a friend, I feel like some days I spend every minute of every day doing something for someone else; thinking about other people; doing things to make someone else happy.  Coupled with all of the time I spend trying to avoid the bad things, there is rarely any time left for the good things, even one little good thing just for me.


Here and now I am making a promise to myself that I will do something each day that I enjoy.

I will sit and have a cup of tea and drink it all the way to the bottom before it gets cold.  I will curl up in a cozy chair and read 15 pages of my book, uninterrupted.  I will paint my nails.  I will paint them once and if I change my mind about the colour I will start over and paint them a different colour.  I will laugh out loud at a joke, even if it’s maybe a little bit inappropriate and probably a lot offensive.  I will go for a walk – not to the store to get milk because we’re running low – but just a walk, without any destination in mind.  I will talk on the phone with a friend, hear a kind voice and the miraculous sound of someone laughing at my ridiculous jokes.  I will write – not necessarily anything good – but words on a page that make me feel good.

Do one thing each day that you enjoy.

Now there’s a quote I’d put on a tote bag.

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