Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sometimes it's not so easy

Don’t try to steer the river. 
~Deepak Chopra

Racing through the gate, they run in different directions. Climbing, sliding, playing, their laughter echos through the mid day air.

Spying the swings, she stops mid step, her focus on the girls already seated. Pumping their legs, high, higher, higher they swing.

Back and forth.
Back and forth.
Back and forth.

She looks to me and I offer a reassuring smile.

"Why don't you try Mo?" I ask. "You can do it. Just try."

"Oh No Mommy. I can't do it." she insists, walking over to me. "You know. I can't do it. I just don't know how to do it. It's too hard."

The frustration is clear.

She wants to be like the big girls. I watch, intently from my post at the picnic table, offering bits and pieces of advice.

"Lean back a bit".

"In then out".


Her body is rigid. Her legs too tense as her face wrings with concentration. Her arms hold onto the metal chain for dear life.

"I just can't do it!" she sobs. "Please. Please help me mommy."

Against my better judgement,  I rise and head over to the swing beside her.

"Watch mommy, babe" I offer. "I pump by legs in and lean forward a bit. Then lean back and my legs go out straight, do you see?"

Her focus is intense, as she studies me.

Back and forth.
Back and forth.
Back and forth.

"Okay, mommy. I think I got it." she replies.

Again, the rigid, tense body fails her and upon leaning back, she looses her balance and collapses onto the wood chips.


Gathering her up in my arms, I whisper in her ear, "It's okay. I think we're done for the day. Let's go home."

"No! No!" she sobs, "I want to pump my legs. I want to swing like a big kid. I can do it."

The tears stream down her red cheeks.

Her insistence is to be admired, but the heat coupled with our time at the park leads me to continue walking.

"We'll come back again." I promise, "I know you will learn how to swing. I just know it in my heart."

It takes a few more tries, a few more failures, but alas, she figures it out.

She masters it on her own, as it should be.

Sometimes the hardest part of parenthood is learning when to sit back. Learning when to be an observer and learning when to let the river flow on it's own.

Little White Whale


  1. BIG GIRL!!!!!!!!! :) :) :)
    beauitful post.

  2. Awesome! Because if we shouldn't be steering our own rivers, why in the world . I think you'll like it :) I love this Jackie. Such a great reminder. You're a good mama!

  3. Meant to say, why in the world would we steer our children's??? Silly phone.

  4. Ugh. Also meant to say check out alison's post...I think you'll like it. Sheesh.

  5. What a very big accomplishment!!! It IS hard to sit back and let them learn things on their own. Good job, Mama! Love those pics...she looks so proud :)

  6. Those red cheeks in the picture? You can tell that she's been working hard for this!
    What a great accomplishment!

    Just letting them figure it out themselves IS the hardest part, isn't it?

  7. It's so hard sometimes to sit back and let them learn by themselves- to see them get so frustrated and disappointed... but the heart sings when they achieve doesn't it?

  8. It is SO hard knowing when to sit back and when to jump up and help. I love the look of sheer determination on your daughter's face in the first photo!

  9. Oh yes, this! Love that our posts have the same message. Letting them be. :)

  10. That was so beautiful. It is absolutely the hardest part of parenting!


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