My earliest memory is from before I was two. I was in my mother’s arms and she was carrying me outside to our car parked in front of our house. the street was lined with trees so the sun cast dapples of light on everything. I took everything in, the trees, cars, houses and my mothers hair tickling my cheek. Across the street I saw a woman come out of her house to get into her car. She opened the auto door and looked up at us. My mother waved and smiled at her but without acknowledging we were there, she got into her car and drove away. I immediately felt a tightness in my belly and a wave of protectiveness overtook me; I thought of my mother. What was she thinking? Were her feelings hurt? Did that woman dislike us? Why would she ignore us? I scrutinized her face looking for some sort of indication, but it revealed nothing. She caught me looking at her, kissed me, and put me in the car. That was the end of the moment for her, but it was a beginning of something for me. It was the first time I remember wanting to be a warrior for my mother.
Fast forward a few years and I am outside in the yard on a sunny day, playing with my brothers, sister and father. As is often the case, we are squealing for him to throw us into the air. “My turn, my turn, my turn” is all he hears. We lie on the grass on our backs and our father grabs us by the ankles and pick us up, swinging us upside down. He swings us back through his legs, then forward, back and forth building up momentum until finally with the last swing up he lets go, and up into the air we fly, with butterflies in our stomachs as the ground moves away. When it is my turn, I can never get high enough, and although the moment lasts just a second, it seems much longer. A moment of fearlessness, of knowing I can do anything, and of complete trust in my father’s ability to catch me. Never once do I worry I will fall.
I tell this story to go along with my daughter’s birthday pictures, as a reminder of some of the childhood moments that shaped me. The moments of worry and fearlessness, because at some time when I wasn’t paying close attention, my worries overtook my fearlessness, and it stayed hidden for many years. Fearlessness has found me again and I am happy to have her back.
So my birthday wish for my little girl is this: “Sydney, may your fearlessness always keep your worries at bay, and you can fly.”
Happy 10th birthday, I love you