Emerald took a few steps sometime in her eleventh month. When Adelade was a baby, I knew and wrote in her baby book the exact date, day of the week, hour and minute she took one step on her own. Sawyer’s baby book bears the date of his first step. But, Emerald, well, she’s the third. And I’m busy. And that’s how things go. It was sometime in her eleventh month. I think.
Anyway, she took those first tentative steps, and we cheered and went crazy and just knew that at any time she was going to spread her proverbial baby wings and soar (or at least Charley-Chaplin-stomp) into the wild blue yonder of toddlerhood. But, she didn’t.
Until one night, about a month later. She had just taken a bath and gotten into her nice fuzzy pjs. You could tell she was feeling great. It was her favorite time of the night, that time when babies get a little wacky. It’s like pjs, the ultimate sign that bedtime is near, are some kind of weird energy drink that goes straight to the hyperactive section of their little brains. She was screaming joyfully, being wild, flopping around on the floor in that ecstatic baby way. Chad grabbed her and put her on her feet, and she took off and walked right across the room to me. We were surprised, but we kept sending her back and forth between us, each of us moving further and further away from each other until she was happily stomping across the room, into the hallway, and in and out of every room in the house. She was a walking expert. She was stopping to dance and clap, obviously overcome by her own greatness, filled with confidence and bravery. She didn’t wobble. She didn’t cry and reach for a hand to hold. She was the Walking Queen. She was good and she knew it.
Well, as it always does, bedtime arrived. We put our little genius in bed, satisfied that she had finally committed to being a walker. We were pretty pumped about the thought of her being just a little more independent. We knew she would be happier with her newly acquired skill, because she would be able to roam freely without feeling like she needed someone to be with her, holding her hand, keeping her upright.
The next morning when she woke up, I went in to pick her up and sat her down on those two sturdy little feet. I waited for further display of her new talent. I coached. I prodded. She took one shaky step, and with a terrified expression, she reached for my hand and plopped down on her diapered bottom. And she cried.
I looked at her, my formerly confident rocking-it baby, sitting there crying because she was too afraid to try. And I knew exactly how she felt. She had forgotten that she is brave. Last night’s glory didn’t matter to her in the realities of morning. She was now at the beginning of a very long day, filled with lots and lots of opportunity to fall on her face. And she was scared.
I’ve been there. When that one little criticism kills my enthusiasm for a project I was once passionate about. When my own weaknesses and faults seem to far outweigh my strengths and talents. When I feel like I could soar, but am convinced that I will more likely fall on my face. I forget that I am brave. And I am too afraid to try.
I have to remind myself that I have a secret weapon. Maybe you’ve heard of Him. No big deal, He’s only the Creator of the Universe. The One who raised people from the dead. The God who sees all, knows all, is all. He is actually my friend. And the Bible says that I can do everything I can possibly dream of doing, as long as He helps me. He steadies my feet. And He allays my fears. And He leads me by the hand until I remember that I am brave. I remember that I am His daughter, and therefore I am fierce.
I am still waiting for Emerald to remember that she’s a walker. She’s getting there. I see some glimpses of that glorious bravery coming back every once in awhile. Before long she’ll be running circles around me. In the meantime, I’ll hold her hand and help steady her feet. And maybe I’ll even write something in her baby book.