August 31, 2009

Try, little girl, try

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.

Bri Smiles

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.



  1. Swee’Pea! You did it!

    I have to tell you that I can picture my daughter going through this years ago. She now puts on a “brave” face when she’s doing something new, but I know she does get nervous. And when she does? She tells me in SO many words how she’s feeling. I look at her and remind her that I was the same way when I was her age. Then she goes forth and does it. And she and I both smile at her new accomplishment.

    Comment by Grace — September 1, 2009 @ 7:20 am

  2. Awww. The crying picture just breaks my heart. But the big grin in the second picture makes up for it! What a big girl she’s becoming!

    Comment by Deanna — September 1, 2009 @ 9:39 am

  3. sigh. that crying picture breaks my heart…but I’m so glad that she stayed and ended up beaming with pride. AWESOME.

    Comment by ali — September 1, 2009 @ 9:45 am

  4. Swee’Pea is inspirational. What a great story of overcoming. Thanks for sharing it, I needed it today.

    Comment by Kami Huyse — September 1, 2009 @ 10:11 am

  5. My little girl is going to be a lot like Swee’Pea. She’s only 15 months right now but is the shyest little girl I have ever met. Any great pointers you might have on how to stretch her a little without breaking would be greatly appreciated!

    And CONGRATS Swee’Pea!

    Comment by LovingDanger — September 1, 2009 @ 10:41 am

  6. A very touching post. Congrats to Swee’Pea on trying something new and loving it! I have the same challenge with Zoe…I’ll have to lock this example of child bravery and good parenting in my mental vault. :)

    Comment by Equipoise — September 1, 2009 @ 12:34 pm

  7. Awww, what a sweetheart. Your words brought tears to my eyes because I can totally relate. My Zoe is so much the same: large & in charge at home, yet hesitant and shy out in the world. It’s sloooowly getting better but so difficult to witness.

    My girl starts preschool next week and I’m hoping that she’ll just dive right in and embrace it all, but truthfully it could go either way.

    p.s. I love your letters to the kids. So touching and a priceless gift.

    Comment by Kate — September 1, 2009 @ 1:56 pm

  8. Both Peanut & The Champ began gymnastics at that age. It was so much fun watching them test their own boundaries.

    Comment by above average joe — September 2, 2009 @ 9:33 am

  9. WOW she looks a lot like you!

    Comment by Miss Britt — September 3, 2009 @ 12:42 pm

  10. Very sweet. Heck, I am also proud of her and I only “know” her through your blog! She has a great daddy!

    Comment by KandJsmom — September 3, 2009 @ 8:07 pm

  11. Way to go, Swee’Pea! What a lesson for us all to learn…to try, even if we’re scared.

    Comment by debra — September 5, 2009 @ 10:21 am

  12. God, that first photo made my heart hurt. You write beautifully.

    Comment by Undomestic Diva — September 9, 2009 @ 9:06 pm

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