Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hallie and Confidence

When Hallie was between the ages of 18 months and 3 or so we would go to parks and zoos and children's museums, like you do when you are a stay at home mom with little kids to entertain.  Hallie would sit on my lap and watch the kids play.  Nothing I did could get her to move from my side.

I had mixed feelings about this.  I was happy that my little girl liked me and trusted me and wanted to be near me.  I worried that she would be like me, and always be afraid of people and have a hard time making friends, and would need some extreme life change like moving to Brasil to get her to come out of it like I did.  I wanted to encourage her to explore, I wanted to push her to be brave, but I also didn't want her to think that it wasn't ok to be who she was... basically I was always worried that I was ruining her.

I still remember how sick I felt the morning of her first swimming lesson last summer.  At a pool we had never been to, surrounded by children and adults we had never seen before, about to do something she had never done before.  A triple threat.  As a child I would have curled up into a tiny  ball on my mother's lap and turned into stone.  That's kind of what I wanted to do on that morning too.  But I am a grown woman now, and I have learned a few tricks about navigating life, so I pointed Hallie to her class, and told her that we would be waiting for her to finish at the little baby pool off to the side. She went and sat with them, looking at me only once or twice.  She loved swimming lessons so much, and her teacher so much, that Dana became the hero of all of her games for a year or longer.

Same thing with starting school.  She marched into that classroom and her confidence soared to new heights.  It made my heart so proud to see my little girl be so brave, to not have the fears of the world that crippled her mother for so many years.

Then there was the Pumpkin Run.  All of the Lincoln elementary school students are invited to participate, and so naturally, being who we are, Hallie was immediately signed up for it.  She was all pumped up and excited, and even though parents are allowed to run with their children, Hallie was determined to do it by herself.  We get to the park where the event is hosted, and there are people everywhere. Swarms of mobs of legions of people.  The first thing I heard was the announcer say that there were 3,359 participants running that day.  That's just the kids actually signed up to run, not including all family that came to watch.  It was madness, and I felt that old familiar cramping in my stomach.  "Hallie can't run this alone.  She'll be too scared.  You'll have to run it with her Devin." was my mantra to him as we walked toward the starting area.  Hallie was with my parents, and when we met up with them, she declared that she would still run alone.

I could not believe my ears.  I was about to throw up with fear, and she still thought she could do it alone.  Whose child is this, anyway?

She did.  She ran it alone.  At one point we were waiting at a curve where the runners came around and you could cheer and take pictures as they made their way to the finish, and she wasn't coming. All these kids streamed past us but no Hallie.  I told Devin if she didn't come soon there was going to be some real serious panicking.  He turned to me and said, "I think this is harder for you than it is for Hallie."

I repeat: my daughter is so brave.  She is willing to experience life, to try it on her own, to see what she is capable of doing.

I was going to post some pictures and other things with this thought, but it has kind of turned into a thing all by itself, so I'll save those for another post.  Also I think maybe a mouse is chewing on my computer cord?

Devin wanted me to come back and add a video.  And so, without further ado, Hallie at the finish line.


  1. You are hilarious by the way. Love you!

  2. I think her Mom might be braver; coping under anxiety is no picnic.

  3. Hallie is so brave!! That was A LOT of people. And you are brave to let her do it, even if you worried you still let her. And now I have one more reason to think Lincoln is awesome: the Pumpkin Run.

  4. That is a lot of small fry running a race, I wish I could have been there to see it. I wonder if this bravery will translate into being able to watch Lady and the Tramp and not get too scared of the rat that Tramp drives off.