A Lesson in Courage

My Lucia Paloma became a Kindergartner, in what truly feels like a blink of the eye.  Our little family is adjusting to this change, and it seems to be smooth sailing thus far.  I miss her, but I smile as I think of her at her very own desk – navigating what feels so big to us – all on her own. 

Yesterday morning she fell while running to the school yard to line up for entry.  Her palms were cut and tiny tears in her leggings exposed freshly scabbed knees. She was in tears as I lead her through the chaos and mayhem that is woven through mornings of an entire elementary school gathering.  I squeezed her up to the front of the line and watched her new teacher hold her hand.  My heart was torn – as I had to leave her.

As the lump in my throat continued to build, she looked at me and bit her lip to stop her tears. She put on the most brave face.  “I’ll be OK mama” – and off she went. 

I haven’t stopped thinking about that little face and the example that she has set for me.  She’s inspired me  to soon share in this space a burden that has become too heavy for me to bear alone.  One that pales in comparison to the plight of many, but one that is profoundly affecting my family.  

She has reminded me to get back up again after being knocked down.  She has inspired me to be brave.

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Tales From The Pediatricain’s Office: A Story of Bravery.

We didn’t expect it to happen at four years of age. Maybe ten, eight, or seven – but our little one was determined. She was adamant about getting her ears pierced.  We previously agreed that we’d allow her to pierce her ears when she came to the decision on her own, and only after informing her in detail what the piercing and aftercare entailed (i.e. “yes baby, it will hurt”).

When she started to respond with “I know mommy, but I’ll have earrings forever”, we decided that a four-year-old “informed” decision had been made.  We reminded her that the decision was hers and only hers to make.

I had a restless night of sleep last night. One wrought with worry over my little girl’s big decision.  I thought about talking her out of it.  I decided that I’d be fine with getting only one ear pierced if she wanted to.  I reminded myself of the lab “incident” that took place a mere two weeks ago.  The time when she tried to drop-kick everyone in the room during a blood draw.  I reassured myself that since it took four people to hold her down in an upper east side lab, she’d most likely change her mind about the whole ear piercing thing.

This morning she picked out a costume suitable for the occasion.  I tried to persuade her into wearing a regular dress to her four-year checkup instead –  but she insisted that the ball gown was a necessity.  

Clearly, proper attire – when you’re four.

I asked the pediatrician for a prescription of EMLA cream, which I applied to her earlobes about an hour before her appointment. This stuff is without a doubt the bomb.

She was visibly scared when she saw the equipment.  She looked at it and I said “I don’t like that”.  And I said, “OK love, what would you like to do?”  And she said, “hug you, mama”.   And when the moment came, she held on to me and didn’t flinch or even say ow. 

My little girl made a big decision and stuck with it.

Her decision reminded me to slow down the propeller on my helicopter.  To stop searching for my cape to rescue her.  She was so pleased to accomplish something that she really wanted. And so so happy with her new earrings.

As I watched her looking at her reflection in the mirror I saw a confident sense of autonomy in my daughter.  I saw a little girl who was capable of making a big decision on her own.  I saw her beaming with pride.  I saw a brave little girl.   

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