“I climb up!”
He said confidently while standing at the bottom of the tiny rock wall at the playground. He grinned and reached his hand up to the first rock. His second hand followed, and then his feet joined the scaling process too. I stood back and watched his bold attempt.
Nearby another 2 year old was attempting to cross the treacherous bridge that led to the top of the big red slide. His parents hovered on either side of him ensuring his safety. I imagine they were wondering why I wasn’t standing behind my kid ready to catch him like they were doing.
I glanced back at my boy just as he missed the last rock and slid back down to the ground in a bit of a heap.
The parent’s eyes widened; their pupils screamed, “I knew that was going to happen!”
I knew it was a possibility. But I also knew that he was ready to try and figure it out on his own.
My little heap of a boy on the ground rolled over, stood up, and his eyes found mine.
He didn’t start crying.
Instead, his face morphed into a frustrated frown and his genetically furrowed little eyebrows lived up to their heritage once again.
“I can’t!” He said emphatically through clenched teeth as he walked towards me with his fists balled up at his sides.
He buried his face in my lap and I gave him a squeeze.
It’s not that he couldn’t. He just couldn’t YET.
He needed another lesson, and he needed me to remind him of where to set his feet. I didn’t start shouting, “Yes you can!” I just simply asked, “Do you want me to help you?”
Instantly his gloom dissipated and the twinkle returned to his eye as I followed him back to the rock wall.
After a few minutes of “Put your toes on the red part of the rock,” and “Grab this rock, not that one yet,” he was ready to try again.
Bravery had permeated his soul once more. And so, like before, I stood back and watched.
I watched him scale that thing in record time.
I heard him screech an, “I did it Mom!” once he reached the top. We fist bumped, he slid down the slide, and then I watched him do it all over AGAIN. This time, with no help, just a few mutterings to himself of, “Put foot here, not there.”
My kids. They’re just tiny versions of myself. It’s hilarious, fantastic, embarrassing, and eyeopening all at the same time.
Watching this little scenario play out I could so clearly see myself in my son.
I’ve had a history of frustratedly declaring, “I can’t!” The wall was too steep, too slippery, too intimidating. I was wearing the wrong shoes. I was too tired, I kept tripping up on the exact same dumb rock.
It’s been a steep learning curve… this thing called motherhood. This intensely-paced character refinement process that I was thrown into five minutes after I said, “Guess what?! We’re having a baby!!”
If you know me in real life you’ll have likely heard me say, “I don’t know how I could ever parent without Jesus…” Usually it’s followed by a head shake and a pensive stare out the window.
Parenting has been my rock wall to climb, but I’ve learned along the way that without a doubt, God has never left the playground. I am certain that He is always standing in close proximity watching my every move.
He has been there when I’ve missed a rock or two, or seven… and when I’ve repeatedly fallen to a heap on the ground.
And when I simply come running back to Him, He has been there to whisper encouragement and reminders of truth in my ear. He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – Philippians 1:6
When I simply ask him, He shows me which rocks to put my hands and feet on. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. – Proverbs 3:6
He leads me, He guides me, He lets me step out on my own… He even lets me scream “I can’t!” a few times. And then, He’s the first to cheer with me when I reach the top.
“I can’t!” he had said; but as it turns out, he most definitely could.