Parenthood: Working on brave.

The other morning, strapping my son in and tucking his blanket around him in his seat because the air is crisp in the mornings now, he thanked me.

My two and a half year old thanked me for performing something so basic for him because he was unable to do it himself.

Along our morning drive on Mondays, he typically falls back to sleep because it’s so early in the morning. He told me that morning he was sleepy, just as he usually does.

“I’m so sleepy,” he said from the back seat.

I glanced up in my rearview, and told his tiny reflection in the baby mirror that it was okay for him to go back to sleep. I’d wake him when we got to Nanny and Grampy’s (my parents, with whom he spends his Mondays) house.

“I can’t,” he informed me. So I asked him why. “Because I need to keep you company.”

This is the little boy that has my heart. He would regardless, because he’s mine.

He’s so incredibly courteous without prompting. He’s kind and compassionate without our instructing him to be that way.

With each moment like this, I feel my heart grow two sizes more. I feel like the Grinch in Whoville on Christmas day some times. My heart just pounding out of my chest in an exaggerated and goofy way.

Watching him this summer become so incredibly brave has had that same effect.

He may not grasp what pride is, but this mom right here certainly does and each day, there’s something said or done that fills me with an incredible sense of it.

Last summer, we explored our hearts out. But, he was still a cautious soul.

Never wading into the water at the beach above his ankles. Climbing up to the slides on the playground, his little hand squeezing mine tightly – but then backing out at the very last minute. Freezing in place when he was near a swing.

Now he not only slides on his own, but he does so, down the big kid slides, on his belly. Climbs fearlessly on the jungle gyms, and the rocks at the beach. He swings on his own. Explores tidal pools without a second of hesitation. Runs towards the water, splashing around – up to his waist (even to his armpits a few times while holding my hand).

Yesterday, he actually picked up a crab to examine it (until yesterday, he’s been very weary of “Grab Crabs” [if you’re kids watch Wallykazam, you know the reference]) as we explored for shells, sea glass, and other finds for our 2017 Memento Jar.

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He likes being up on my shoulders “to see”, and in hopes of being able to touch the planes that fly overhead.

He still clings to my arms when I ask him if he wants me to throw him up high to catch a plane though. He’s still working on his brave.

There are still times when he’s unsure of himself, or that new confidence that’s growing like a smiling sunflower wavers just a bit, and he reaches for my hand. And that’s okay.

He doesn’t know it yet, and he may never, but mom is still working on her brave too. There will be a day when she’ll have to step back, and let him go completely on his own.

So until then, we’ll just keep working on our brave.

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Photographer. Writer. Fit mom. Athlete. Trainer/Coach. Nutritionist. Heavy lifter. Yogi. Pit bull mom. Outdoor enthusiast. Food lover. 1st Phorm Legionnaire.

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