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Un-Brave (ette)

Updated: Mar 24, 2019

What is it about the car wash that freaks kids out so much? I find the idea of something cleaning on my behalf entirely relaxing. Check that...I find it down-right alluring. Each of my children loathe the car wash from the ages of 0-6. Following is the conversation between my two littles as we entered the car wash a couple days ago. Both were in my lap (don't judge).


Teentz: "Do you want to be Brave like mom when you get bigger?"

Abe(age 4):"Yeah." {sniffle, sniffle, tear}

Teentz (age 7):"If you want to be Brave when you're big, you need to be Brave now. You've gotta practice. Here. Hold my hand."


Did my fierce, red-headed, force of nature daughter know how Un-Brave I felt just earlier that morning? Did she know I had fallen in a heap after my workout and cried all my feelings into oblivion? I wasn't sad, angry, worried, happy, or even disappointed. I wasn't weak, sick or discontent. I was feeling the opposite of Brave...whatever that feeling is. Honestly, after 2 days of thinking about it, I still don't have a name for that feeling. (Ideas, Tribe?) I wasn't Brave enough to cry or let my self be seen. I wasn't Brave enough to throw myself over a bar at the gym or move faster even though I know I can. I wasn't Brave enough to say words, out-loud, that need to be said. Un-Brave. Not weak. I was feeling Un-Brave.


It wouldn't be the first time that my in-tune kiddo clued into emotions and ideas, both eternal and true, eons before her mother. No one saw that moment at the gym (Praise Be). It was between me, God, and Bon Jovi playing on the radio. I cried then squatted. Cried then snatched the dang barbell. Cried then lunged. Then smiled a bit. Then drove home and cried some more.


For someone who isn't a crier, I have spent a good deal of 2019 in tears.


Like an itch at the back of her heart, did Teentz have any inkling of how very Un-Brave her mama felt that day?


Probably not.


Me: "You think I'm Brave, Teentz?"

Teentz: "Yep. Brave and strong." She pinched my bicep and showed me my hand armor (calluses).

Me: "Somedays. Not all the days."

Teentz: "That's ok. You wanna hold my hand too?"


My daughter thinks I have courage and strength. It's easy to believe the horrible things about ourselves. It's harder to believe in the good someone else noticed in us. It's easy to put on a fake front. It's painful to show up vulnerable.


So today I practiced being Brave in a car wash along with my 4 year old. I practiced being Brave at the gym, when I went back to have the barbell teach me another lesson in humility and patience. I practiced being Brave when I chose words carefully to communicate with my people. I am willing to practice Bravery until the real-deal shows up. Partly because I really do want to be Brave one day. Mostly because Teentz thinks I already am.


Maybe that's the power of someone else believing in me until I can believe in me.


It sufficeth to say that the car wash was uneventful and much-needed.


"A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer." - Ralph Waldo Emerson




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