I met a woman when I was out walking this morning, and after talking for a few minutes, we discovered that she knew my daughter. She had taught my daughter’s class for a movement seminar. “Your daughter is such a bright, shining light. She is wonderful and was such a joy to have.”
I have been the beneficiary of compliments on the behalf of my daughter before. I am embarrassed to admit that I may have taken them for granted some of the time.
This one felt particularly important to notice, to soak in and let wash over me. A bright, shining light - it describes her so well. Even now, sitting in her room with its one sunflower yellow painted wall, I feel that light of her.
She cracks herself up. She says YES to things. She makes music. She is curious about the world.
I worry that I sometimes dampen that light or cast a shadow over it.
Particularly because I have a habit of picking out what’s problematic when it comes to a whim, a new idea or a different way of doing things.
For example, a neighbor has a set of tires out in front of their house w/ a FREE sign taped to them. Her idea was to take one to make a tire swing in the woods. I suggested that the neighbor might not appreciate having to find a home for a set of three car tires. Our conversation ended there.
And that’s probably just as well - before I started asking questions like, “What woods? Whose property is it? What kind of liability would there be? How toxic is sitting on a rubber tire swing, anyway?”
I’m good at finding the things that could go wrong. This isn’t always an attribute, and my daughter would suggest that what I’m good at is raining on people’s parades.
I guess some of this has to do with being a recovering perfectionist. Even if I’m able to embrace “good enough” more easily, I still get hooked by the prospect of things going wrong.
The phrase “things going wrong” is like a red flag - and I realize that some of what is going on for me here is about control.
I am handing over more and more control to my daughter as she gets older - and this is a good thing. But it sure gets my control gremlins going.
The knot in my stomach does a little loopty loop and comes back to its knot form. I know it is the way of things. My job is to let go a little and give more space and then let go a little more.
Lots of words pop to mind: courage, trust, compassion. Most of all courage. That is the journey of parenting. I need to be brave. Again.
What might being brave look like for you?
Jessica Curtis is a professional life coach who helps people cultivate intention and live from a place of meaning and authenticity. If you think you could benefit from working with Jessica or want to invite her to work with your group, reach out to start a conversation.