Wee Girl has always been a climber, but that’s only the beginning of the story. She climbs, she swings, she flips upside down. She does whatever she can do to keep her body in motion at all times. At the park she will head, instinctively, for the highest piece of equipment there. The one that I am secretly, desperately, praying that she won’t notice. Because if she does it will inevitably mean that I am forced to hover beneath her, holding my arms up so that I can catch her if she falls.
That’s what a parent is meant to do, right?
Sometimes terror gets the best of me. Sometimes it’s easier to pack up and go home, or to tempt her with a mention of the cafe, something which is usually guaranteed to result in a u-turn straight for the doors of said establishment.
But every time I do that, I’m failing her.
I made a decision early on to let her try. To stifle the voice that wants to screech ‘Watch out! Don’t go so high! You might fall!’ I remember reading an article early on about how parents are subconsciously less likely to let their daughters take risks.
Not me, I thought. Not my daughter.
It’s not always easy.
Once she shot up a climbing frame and along the top of the monkey bars three feet above my head: I had Little Man strapped to my chest, so I knew I couldn’t catch her if she fell. I had to appeal to the group of shirtless young men who were blasting out music and using the playground as their gym (Not complaining. They were 1. very helpful, and 2. lovely to look at).
“She’s fearless,” one of them said.
You have no idea.
Fearless she might be, but she’s also cautious and careful. She takes her time, thinks about what she’s doing, and as a result she rarely falls. And she’s strong, so if she does fall, she’s usually able to catch herself and pull herself back up again. So I’m trying to be braver, because I never ever want to be the one holding her back.
She deserves better that that. She’s tough and gutsy and I’m incredibly proud of her.
Even if she does sometimes scare the crap out of me.