One of My First Promises Was a Lie

May 13, 2017

“I won’t ever let anything hurt you.”  This was one of my first promises to my son, and it was a lie.

The lie wasn’t intentional. I truly wanted to protect him from any and all pain, until I realized that was an impossible task and I had to change my promise.

As a mom, it’s natural to want to protect our kids from any and all pain.  Pain hurts and we don’t want the people that we love to hurt.  In our minds we think pain is bad. That pain will break us or prevent us from being happy.

The truth is, pain is a part of life. It comes in many forms, but it comes no matter what, and it’s not up to us to block it.  Even when we try, there are so many times there is nothing that we can do.

I know this for myself, but watching it with my baby is so hard.

Last week during his 15 month check up they drew blood and it was so very painful for him.  On Monday he tripped and face planted on the window seat and got his first bloody fat lip. Yesterday he waved and said hello to kids at the store and they walked away from him.

We’ve had a long list of other stings and he’s survived them all. Honestly, he’s shown a lot of resilience. There is a part of me that wants to wrap him in bubble wrap or tell people to eff off…and lets be real, some days that part will get the best of me, but I’m trying hard to remember that is not my job.

My job as his mom is to love him fiercely, and to help him see his strength and his courage.  If I transport him away from the pain, that won’t happen – he will doubt himself, he will believe pain is bad and feeling sadness and fear is wrong. He will second guess his actions and stop being who he is at the core.

He deserves to be exactly who he is meant be. My job is to support him in being that person. Navigating pain and knowing that he will be okay, that he will survive – even if he gets some bumps and bruises – that is where his confidence will come from.

I want him to know that true happiness in life comes from going into the pain and coming out stronger on the other side. I want him to know that it’s okay to be afraid, that he should listen to the message fear is sending and then decide what to do.  That he doesn’t have to always run from scary or hurtful things (sometimes yes, but not always – he needs to know the difference). I want him to know that vulnerability and feeling feelings is what makes up the beauty of the human experience, and that he is an amazing human exactly as he is.

I want him to trust himself, to fight for what he believes in and to always do what he thinks is right.

This means that sometimes he might feel pain and that’s okay. I trust that he will be okay. Actually, I know he will be, I know that he will be stronger and better because of it.

My new promise to him is that I will do my very best to show up strong with him. I will stand beside him and support him in being exactly who he is. I will do my best to be there for him, even though there are so many things that I can’t fix or stop from happening. I will love him and do my best to lead by example.

The truth is, I know this will be messy. I have a temper and am driven by emotion…so there are days when heads will roll. Other days I’ll be able to take that step back and handle things all calm, cool and collected.

I will always want to protect my baby boy – he’s my heart, living outside of my body – but I know that it is so important to let him learn how to be the strongest, bravest version of himself and the only way to do that is to fully go into life, pain and all.

Phew! This parenting thing is intense. Every day there is so much to learn, so much new to navigate.  Good news is –  we are all in this together, doing our best in any given moment – hoping to not totally lose our $h!t – and just taking it one day at a time.

Emily xox


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