We woke at 6 AM, on this, the holiest of sleeping days, Saturday morning. Normally I would have allowed my grogginess to dictate my mood but today, I was not going to allow it to take over. I rolled out of bed with purpose. I knew that it was an important day.
Since becoming a mother I have developed a parenting style unique to my daughter and me. I’ve allowed little influence from the way that I was raised. I knew that I wanted to subtly discourage certain behaviors while still fostering what I thought was important. Today was a triumph for me. The past eleven years has lead up to this point and I could not be happier.
My Tiny Human has joined trivia club. This would be a trivial point to most (pun totally intended), but for me this is so much more than an after school activity. You see, the Tiny Human signed up for this club without my input. She met with the teacher in charge and asked her to email me for permission. She knew that not a single one of her friends was joining it with her. Furthermore, this club competes against multiple schools and she will be one of the only sixth graders that qualified to represent her school. She will be going up against high schoolers. She is the only girl out of 27 team members. And she let none of this stop her.
So this morning was a big deal for her. It is the first tournament. She has no idea what to expect. She has been studying a list of facts that the teachers gave her and she requested that we watch “Jeopardy!” as a family to prep. She has been using a mock signalling device for days.
She woke up and ate her breakfast. She brushed her hair the same way as she always does. She forewent the band t-shirt and wore a nice, plain burgundy tee to “dress it up”. She spent no additional time or fuss.
Okay, and here is the proud momma part. She doesn’t know to be nervous. Not like I used to be and honestly still am when I do something outside of my comfort zone. This has been part of my parenting strategy. Seriously. I have specifically never asked her, “are you nervous?” We talk about preparation and we talk about how “excited” we are. I swear, I thought it may not work at times but it actually has and it has totally paid off.
To clarify, yes, she does show signs of nerves. The difference here is that she channels them. She uses that energy that courses through her veins to keep her alert. Most importantly she laughs. She talks about why she has chosen to do the new action. She explains what she likes about it and why it’s important. She doesn’t let herself get wrapped up in what is about to happen. She focuses on what she has already done and what she can do right now to get ready. It’s awesome!
Driving to the school to drop her off at the shuttle we listened to music at high volumes, per the usual. “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World came on and I couldn’t help but get a little tear in my eye as she and I screamed it at the top of her lungs.
“Don’t write yourself off yet
It’s only in your head you feel left out or looked down on
Just try your best
Try everything you can
And don’t you worry what they tell themselves when you’re away.”
Yes, I just quoted a Jimmy Eat World song, and I did it with no shame. She jumped out of my car and bounced onto the bus to travel to a city she has never been. My Tiny Human rocks! I’ll be keeping this day in mind when I find myself nervous to do something new in the future.
I reminded her last night as I often do… the only thing more dangerous than a well-read woman is a well-read woman with confidence.