I bite my tongue and fight the urge to parrot my mother's favorite phrase since having children of my own. I try not to say it to my kids, and I have to work even harder not to say it to myself.
I'm sure my parents had the best of intentions, thinking they were protecting me from disappointment by reminding me resources were limited. Life wasn't fair. Good little girls didn't always get the rewards they deserved. It was safer to not reach, don't dream, you'll fall...
Disappointments came anyway, of course, coated in the bitter taste of knowing I didn't try. It was a comfy place to lean back on, pretending I didn't want whateveritwas anyway. Trying hard is for suckers anyhow.
The first kick of my daughter's life thrilled me in a terrifying way. My little flutter, safely tucked under my heart where nothing could get to her was about to fly. How was I going to keep her safe once she was out in the world? When they placed her on my stomach, and we took a long look at each other's outsides for the first time, I reached. I dreamed.
SO many years of closing my eyes and holding my breath, so many times I almost grappled for her to hold her back, by instinct... stay close, don't go, it's safer here.
Guess what? She flew too. She traveled away from me. She fell, she hurt, she loved, she lost and she came out on top in the end.
She taught me that if I was her safe place to land, flying was fun. THAT was my job after all that worrying.
I can do this.
When my son decided he was too ready to charge headlong into life, he landed in the middle of the consequences of my body not being strong enough to hang onto him until he was truly ready.
His own body tries to hold him down, to keep him from reaching, from trying... but the moment his doctor taught his Daddy and me a lesson by palming him like a basketball holding him up so he could feel what it was like to soar, I saw us trying to reach up with our hearts to snatch him back down to safety and understood in that snap of time I had my work cut out for me if I wasn't going to hold him back to keep myself safe.
The first time I had to hand him over for surgery, I wanted longer arms. Even though I knew, HAD to know it would be okay, I didn't know what to do with my hands without him in them. The unfortunate first person to tell me not to get my hopes up that the operation would solve the problem got pushed back.
That felt good. :)
You don't tell a mother not to hope when hope is all she has.
I'm still grateful for that doctor who waited until AFTER Steven started reaching and doing to tell me of his own uncertainty and initial pessimism. He declared open season on whatever Steven wanted to try. His words to little Steven as he combat crawled/slithered to the door to try to get the nurse to come back and give him another treat... "Go get 'em!"
Thank you, Doctor Allen. :)
To those who tried to tell me what goals were "realistic" and that I was in denial if I thought my son had the potential of yours?
Eat my shorts.
To all the other mothers of kids with their unique challenges, whether it's running, walking, wheeling or even trying to make words from sound or movement so the outside world can know the soul inside a body that wants to hold it back...
Go get 'em.
I'll stand behind you and we'll show whoever says "Don't get your hopes up." how it's done.
I've got my sassy pants on today.