I’ve spent days with a lump in my throat, feeling the weight of transition in so many areas– each area so uniquely heavy. River doesn’t hold my hand into the classroom–she’s dropped off with the teacher. She tells me stories, I listen and respond enthusiastically. She’s independent. She is growing. She is strong.
This morning as we went to drop her off, Oak cried from the gate because he didn’t get to kiss her long enough. She looked back and blew him another kiss to soothe his worries. She had this strong and confident smirk. She had this pride and love in her little brother looking on through the knots that separated them. I welled up behind him and in view of her. She smirked even wider. And I yelled, “We love you, River!”
I’ve made so many mistakes in motherhood. Many I’m sure my kids won’t see and some they can, and many that sit with me as I take on a new day and grow with them. But as River stepped into school that day, I’ve been thinking of strength. What does that mean? Have I been conveying this and what are my intentions when I do? River and I have been talking about this in one instance or another. The many misconceptions about what strong looks like. She’s the eldest in her group, but the smallest. But she often has this way of rationalizing and empathizing with others, that brings this mature nature to most group dynamics. She communicates what she needs, likes and dislikes so clearly and respectfully, I am often in awe. And isn’t that strength?
As I look at my own mistakes, the ones she and I discuss when I am in the midst of making them or in hindsight, I affirm strength in that. Does admitting mistakes and growing mean strength? I’d have to agree. And it is often the same lesson I try to convey to River when she makes mistakes, and one that I hope she holds on to as first grade progresses. Everything she is and will be and will do signifies strength. And when she doesn’t feel strong? That is beautiful and wonderful too. I will be there. Always.