on being brave for her

The Bravery Files

Jenna is my sweet friend from Brussels, who I miss dearly. Today she’s writing about what being brave looks like for her right now as a mother. And she identifies something that I think is important to realise – being brave is not just something we do for ourselves but it has a ripple effect on the people around us in our lives…

mother print by tushtush on Etsy

Trying to write this I kept wondering what in the world would require me to brave at this moment. I kept trying to write only to be constantly interrupted by this nagging sound coming from the second bedroom. That sound just so happens to be coming from my sweet baby girl, just 9 months old.

If you ever had to tell me that being a mother required bravery, I would have thought, ‘yeah, in like 17 years when they go off to school, right?’’.

The first night my bravery was called into action was a few nights after Fiona came to Brussels to help put the nursery together. Olivia was just about 6 months old and we decided, my husband and I, that it was about time she moved out of our room. He was excited. Heck, I was excited. But then, I wasn’t. I was scared. Something I had not anticipated. I had to move her just 6 feet away from the foot of our bed with a wall between and I was close to terrified. It took a week before my husband finally threw his hands up and said enough, she goes. I, of course, was not happy.

Her first night in her room she slept like, well, like a baby, but the kind this simile refers to. I could not sleep. I hadn’t realized how attuned I was to the sound of her breathing and the little noises she made at night. I stayed up counting all the fire hazards and possible death traps in the room. I even got up a few times just to be sure she was in fact sleeping. This lasted a few days and I honestly had to be brave. I had to stop myself from sleeping in her room and eventually ruining my marriage because, ya know.

It was a week later, however, I slept harder and longer than I had in almost a year. It wasn’t a month before I stopped going every half hour to check on her before I went to bed and it just so happens I recently decided it was ok to shut her door at night.

This was the first encounter with motherhood bravery. Neext will be bigger. Currently we are trying out solid foods and while I appreciate Olivia’s tenacity I am not so certain a 9 month old should be feeding themselves carrot silces, just yet. I would love to keep her on mashed this and that but as children always do, they scare the crap out of you, you see them succeed (or choke but live and learn), and you are rewarded with pride that only you and your loved ones really care to share with you.

I do know that we are lucky. So far Olivia has been the picture of health. I have friends that aren’t so lucky and my amount of bravery required can barely be measured next to theirs. I am thankful for the time to work on it, to practice a brave face for a girl who looks at me when she hits her head or smashes a finger to see if I am upset and if she should be upset as well.

I know next it will be crawling, then walking, then bikes, boys, cars, college, and perhaps she will choose to be adventurous like her father and mother and I will finally know what my parents meant when they said, ‘One day, you will understand what it’s like’.

As a parent you have to be brave, so they can be brave too.

The print above is entitled Mother, and is available to purchase from the Etsy store Tush Tush