He is just a very little guy, my little mister. But at 20-and-a-half months, he has a very big amount of courage. In fact, he is probably one of the bravest people I know. He has a complete fearlessness. There is nothing that scares him. When it comes to life, he wants to try it all.
I admire Milin so much for this. I watch him take on his world and I’m incredibly proud. I’m also rather frightened.
Nowhere sums up Milin’s give-everything-a-go attitude more than the park. About a five minute buggy walk from our house, we have a wonderful playground. It isn’t huge or fancy, but it has everything you’d expect. Slides, swings, tunnels, they are all there. It’s never overly busy, we get to see lots of people walking their dogs in the park, and quite simply, the little mister loves it.
If we aren’t there everyday, we are there every other day. From the moment he is dressed, the little mister is asking to get into his buggy and go to “park”.
When we are there, he wants to go higher and higher on the swing. “Weeeeeeeeee!” he’ll exclaim while I push.
And then he’ll climb to the top of the big slide, glance at me with a hint of unsteadiness, and then launch himself downwards without a second thought.
I was never particularly brave growing up. Perhaps when I was young enough not to know fear or consequences I was – but from whenever I can remember, I was afraid of stuff.
The little mister, on the other hand, will one day climb trees, he will jump off the rocks for river swims, and he will push himself higher. I know all of this because I see it in him at the park. I know too that it’s not going to go away and it’s not going to be overtaken by fear.
I so want to nurture his courage and his spirit of adventure. But to do it, I must hold my breath each time he climbs to the top of that slide. I must stop myself from saying no, or wait, or slow down, or it’s too high, or you’re too small. I must try, instead, to trust his bravery and his instincts. As long as he is safe.
He is learning his limits and discovering his boundaries. He is getting stronger and smarter and more worldly. I mustn’t hold him back. Instead, I will clap and cheer when he climbs higher next week or jumps further tomorrow. I will be there to watch when he runs faster and becomes even more daring. And, when he discovers where that boundary line lies, I’ll also be there to wipe away the tears and clean his grazed knees .