You are so bold, little girl. When we are in the comfort of our own home, your confidence screams out in ways that make me smile just thinking about it. Like the way you cock your head to the side and smile at me when I take your picture. Or the way you take command of the play time and direct me and your brother with the authority of a drill sergeant. Or the way you do something funny and then laugh hysterically, knowing that I will join in with you. That is the Swee’Pea I know.
But not everyone knows this Swee’Pea. No, when we venture out – beyond the safety of our humble abode – you show another side. A shy, unsure little girl who wants to hold her Daddy’s hand rather than face a new challenge. One who has trouble approaching others on the playground, even though I can tell you want, so very badly, to make a new friend. It is times like these that my heart hurts for you, my little girl. I cannot help but wonder how difficult it must be for you and I want, so very badly, to teach you to be that confident little girl even when we stretch beyond the safety of our home.
For that reason we signed you and your brother up for gymnastics at the Y this past week. This was definitely something new and I had high hopes that your love of dancing would translate well into gymnastics. We prepared you as best as we could, telling you and your brother all week that we would be doing tumbling with other boys and girls. We explained that mommy and daddy would watch you as the teachers would help you. We reassured that we wouldn’t be far away.
None of that mattered.
You were scared. You didn’t want to stop clutching me, even as the little girls gathered around the teachers for stretching. And yet, you didn’t want to leave either. So we watched. And I could tell you were trying to be brave. Your brother was also trying to be brave and it is times like these that I am glad you have each other for support. Together, you decided to join the group as we made our way out to the large gymnastics center, complete with trampolines, balance beams and soft, cushioned pads. But you were still scared. And you began to cry…
But you didn’t want to leave. And then you summoned your strength and you bit down on your lip and you followed your brother and the other little girls around the obstacle course, doing somersaults, and jumping and running and then, before I knew it, you were smiling.
And after all was said and done, you walked off that gymnastics floor beaming with pride. I can still feel the hug and I told you then what I’m telling you now. I’m so very proud of you. I am proud of you because, in spite of your shyness and the fear of trying something new, you somehow seem to overcome that fear and try. And when you try, you always seem to have a good time. My prayers for you, little one, is that you will always try and that each time you do, it gets a little easier for you.
Because the obstacle courses never really go away. You just have to keep trying to overcome them. And I’ll always be nearby to cheer you on.