Baby D is growing up much faster than I would like her to. Every day, she is showing me something new – whether it’s crossing her arms or singing to Andra Day’s “Rise Up”. Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that she is now trying to climb EV-ER-Y-THING.
On one occasion, I followed her as she ran into the hallway at the house. My mom had a box with a pressure washer just waiting to be put to good toddler use. Instead of sensing danger & aborting mission, Baby D saw it as a challenge accepted & without hesitation began to lift up one little bowed leg onto the top of the box. As she grabbed the corners with both hands, I stood there & watched her struggle to pull her tiny body weight up onto the top of that box. Of course I’m spotting her from a very close distance, but deep down I knew she had what it took to do it.
After a few tries (& some whining & tears), she hoisted herself to the top of that box. I was both relieved & amazed at how determined & strong she was. I was also inspired by her perseverance. Even when it became tough & she became frustrated, she rose to the occasion. She didn’t give up after the first try & walk away.
In fact, I believe toddlers are some of the most persistent individuals, particularly when it comes to hearing the word “no”. They keep it moving without a care in the world, much to our dismay. As I walk over to gently pick her up & place her back on solid ground, I thought even more about the times in my life where I’ve struggled to get on top, to achieve a goal, to be fearless. And here is my own flesh & blood, executing all three like the boss toddler that she is.
And I felt embarrassed. How is it that my 15 month old can persevere but her mother constantly feels the weight of giving up? Well, for one, I’m human so I guess that makes sense. But as I witnessed her work through her frustration to get what it was she wanted, I felt empowered.
As my mind worked through this existential realization, I came up with a few concrete lessons that I want to share with all of you.
- It’s okay to cry when things get tough, but keep going. Eventually you’ll make it.
- If at first you don’t succeed…yadda yadda yadda. You know the rest. But it’s a cliché for a reason.
- You’ll finally understand the strength you had in you all along when you do persevere.
- There’s more to reach. Work toward the next height. Baby D has moved on to climbing chairs, couches, her play yard. It’s only up from here for all of us.
- When you persevere, celebrate. You made it through, scars & all. So celebrate you.
Have you ever felt empowered by a toddler? They make you feel like anything is possible. In a toddler’s world, there are no limits. As adults, why should we impose them on ourselves?