Monday, November 5, 2012

Learning to Walk and Other Life Lessons




I barely remember a time when Claire didn’t walk. It’s been a mere two months, but the transformation could not be more enduring.  Sure, children start out with the struggle of the learning curve, but once they reach a milestone, they never look back. 

While Claire was learning to walk, I was learning about life. It was my first lesson in letting go. I wanted to help. I could hold her hand and cheer her on, but I couldn’t stop her from falling. I couldn’t show her how to find her equilibrium. I couldn’t take a step for her.

She had to discover how to stand on her own two feet and move through the world. Literally and metaphorically, isn’t this experience what we want most for our children? Why is it so hard to do?

Claire took it all in stride. She would find a tentative center and lurch forward. Her feet didn’t yet know how to keep up with her head and upper half of her body. She would stumble back down to the floor. Over and over again.

I was impatient.

Yet, falling was time well spent for Claire. She developed elegant ways to catch herself on the way down, crashing on her belly and looking up at me with a giggle. “How smart!” I thought. “She needs to know how to fall right, before she can walk.”

I started to feel in awe of her grace. I started to feel joy being in her presence and watching. I began to wonder about my own need to be right and to have things just so.

When do we begin to see our efforts as failure when what we really need is more practice? When do we replace the ability to make fools of ourselves with feelings of shame and embarrassment? When do we stop having fun in the moment and worry only about the end result?

Claire has no self-doubt. She shows complete faith in the process. She isn’t concerned about when the goal will be achieved.

The best self-help gurus preach about this stuff all the time.  They’ve got nothing on my daughter Claire.

27 comments:

  1. New follower here. Found you through I-can't-remember-any-more-because-I'm-too-tired bloggie link up. You say it SO SO very well. Treasure the little moments and savor each footprint. The time passes in a blink of an eye!
    nancy-of the crazy 9
    http://nancyvnjourney.blogspot.com/

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    1. Time has already passed so quickly, and she's just now walking!

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  2. Following you from the hop and would love it if you followed me back :)

    Lyndsay @ theallmylove.blogspot.com

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  3. Lovely post and great to see such inspiration in your little girl and her determination to walk :)

    Thanks for linking up!

    Sarah @ A Cat-Like Curiosity

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  4. Hola Rachel! Amazing post! How wonderful to find inspiration in our children and to ultimately learn from them too. I understand better now, how children are a gift from God. Thanks for sharing and thanks for linking up with my Soul Food Monday! This post was truly a feast for my soul. Can't wait to see what I will munch on next week with yours. Tootles!

    ~SimplyyMayra ;)

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    1. Oh "a feast for my soul". So kind, Mayra! Thank you.

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  5. Smiles, smiles and more smiles for you letting go and for Claire learning it on her own with grace. Thanks again for linking up the Empowered Living hop, it's always a pleasure reading your posts.

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  6. Kid's are great teachers if we just stop and watch them and listen to them. Love the post! (TALU)

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    1. Yes! I need to remember to slow down a bit more, because I can easily miss the gold.

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  7. Wonderful post! How you compared learning to walk with struggles in life is lovely. We ALL need to learn how to fall before we can learn to walk. Thanks for sharing! And thanks for linking your post to On My Mind Tuesdays :) Today especially, I needed to read something like this. xo

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    1. It's great that you are reaching out! I know it's been a tough week for you.

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  8. This is great. It is so true. They just DO without thinking, without doubt.

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    1. I learn so much from her, when I'm able to slow down and let her teach me.

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  9. We're on the verge... it is quite nerve-wracking to see his arms move forward with his little cart but not his feet. You say it nicely.

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  10. another beautifully written post. lovely.

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  11. Isn't it amazing what we as parents can learn from our children. How blessed you are to be in the moment at hand! I shared in these same moments myself many years ago and thank God every day for allowing me the opportunity to be a SAHM. I got to witness each of my children's firsts, instead of a daycare worker. Thanks for sharing your beautiful post and thanks for linking up with Wayback Wednesdays!

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  12. Hi, I'm a new follower from "Welcome Wednesday"!

    xo,
    Gwen
    http://junior-executive.blogspot.com

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  13. learning to fall "right"-- I'm thinking it's one of those lessons that we could all do well to learn. =)

    Aloha,
    Happily following you now from the "friends" hop. I'd so love it if you'd join me at Localsugarhawaii.com where we're riding the wave of life together, one adventure at a time.

    I wanted to personally invite you too to join me and our beautiful team for An Aloha Affair-- it's a new sort of way of being/ growing together in a more meaningful way and we're truly committed to you having a great experience-- I hope you'll join us... save ya a spot?...

    xo,
    Nicole
    localsugarhawaii.com

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  14. Just lovely! (It reminded me of when my son was learning to walk, he had to fall hundreds of times! Having Down syndrome made walking a hurdle, but he kept at it! Each time he fell, I'd bite my lip and turn my head so he would not see my not-so-happy reaction, I did not want to take away from his struggle. He still struggles, to read and write and do simple math, but he doesn't mind so why should I!)

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    1. I really relate. I was a special ed teacher before I had Claire. I wanted so much for my students. It made it hard to watch them struggle so. I had to remember that they were all finding their own way. Thank you for sharing!

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  15. That is so lovely. How true, too. Your post reminded me what I always tell my daughters when they are afraid to do something new. They'll say, "But I don't know how!" And I always respond, "You once didn't know how to walk either, but you still took your first step."
    I'm very impressed with the number of comments you get! Well done!

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  16. Very nice post. I love the part about Clara's grace!

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