Courage and Cousins

“And one has to understand that braveness is not the absence of fear but
rather the strength to keep on going forward despite the fear.”
– Paulo Coelho 

File this under Things I Hope to Teach My Daughter and things I have learned from my cousin.

I don’t think I’m a particularly brave person.  In fact I grew up afraid of my own shadow and baffled about how my peers seemed to have no fear.  Like my cousin, Kiley, for example.  When we were growing up she just “went for it” in everything.  One telling time in particular she climbed this “rock” in our hometown, India Rock. By all standards its not a very big face to climb, but at the time it was a mountain.  At least to me.  I would go up the easiest route carved out from climbers before me. Basically just a quarter mile walking trail.  Kiley, on the other hand, would climb right up the rock face without a second thought. I remember bossy little me yelling at her to, “stop right now or I’m gonna tell!” Yeah, I was that kid, the tattle tail.

And I was the kid who hid under the blanket during scary movies while she watched and sometimes even laughed. She jumped in the deep end, slept without a nightlight, talked to fellow students like they were her friends without fear they would judge every little thing she said.

Now that I’m taking on the scariest task of my life: motherhood, I look to her and know that I can do it.  When I first found out I was pregnant I was terrified, but she was thrilled and so excited to do this together (her being pregnant as well). That energy and confidence soon rubbed off on me and I too began to feel excitement rather than pure, unadulterated terror.

And now that both of our children are born (Mads being my first and B being her second) I look to her for my strength and guidance as a mother.

In adulthood my perspective of her is obviously different.  I know now that she has fear, she has doubts and always has.  But she doesn’t give into them.  She doesn’t let that fear make her weak, but rather draws strength from it.  Knowing her sons are watching her, learning and growing from her every move.  Not knowing that I am doing the same.


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