“Stand behind the blue line,” I called to you as the lifeguard blew the whistle at our neighborhood pool. You know what that whistle means. The lifeguards take a break, and all tiny swimmers move behind the line for safety reasons. I keep a careful watch on you because I’m your Mama and I KNOW what you want to do. You are staring at the line with that mischievous smile, and I see the wheels turning in your mind. I know you are thinking, “How can I follow the rules yet still get across that blue line?”
As I watch lay on your stomach with your feet stretched out (across the blue line), dance around (accidentally two-stepping your way across the blue line), and alternating between walking to the blue line and running away, I shake my head and laugh before I remind you about the rule.
I knew we were going to have our hands full with you early on. You were a calm baby, slept well, really you were an angel baby. Then as kids do, you found your voice and your independence. From then on you’ve been forging your own path through this world, leaving us always on our toes to keep up with you.
From the time you could talk, you have been negotiating your way in and out of things. You are so very precise with your words, and you expect everyone else to be. Sometimes I listen to you, and I am sure you are destined to be a lawyer. Your negotiating skills are impressive and often leave us throwing our hands in the air in defeat.
Determined to have things your way, you are forever testing your boundaries. You are continually testing where the line is and often times cross it just enough to prove to yourself that you are in control but not quite enough to get into serious trouble. Your tenacity is only rivaled by your infectious love and curiosity for life and people.
These boundary-pushing qualities will serve you well as an adult. This I am sure of. But, at four, they are sometimes hard to manage. I remind myself daily that it’s my job to teach you how to use these gifts for good.
My hope, sweet child, is that you always live life right on the line. I want you to question situations you find yourself in with the same determination that you have today. My greatest wish is that you don’t accept something just because someone says it’s so. I pray that you will stand up for yourself and others with the same compassion and grit that you have already shown.
And when you cross the line, as you inevitably will, I will be there to pull you back over, help you learn from the experience and push forward.
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