Your Dad and I joked recently that perhaps we should've seen it coming. As early on as the days you lived inside my womb, you were throwing little hints at us that should have given us some insight into just how very strong your disposition had already grown to be. You came into this world via a last minute c-section, due to the fact that you were lying sideways - which, for anyone who is not aware, is not a position that is in any way conducive to being born naturally. You refused to budge, no matter how much the doctors and nurses poked and prodded, and then some, at you... much to my displeasure. From that moment onwards you have continued to show us the same level of tenacity day in and day out, which, in my opinion is at a level that is much higher than a 10. It started here and since then, it has only grown.
These days you can be sure to find your Dad and I busily attempting to strike some kind of balance between knowing when it is necessary to extinguish the scorching portions of your fiery soul, the ones that stem more from a sense of defiance, and knowing when it is necessary to feed the flame, the portion of the fire that comes more from a place of strength and determination to learn and to grow.
Even before you could talk you let your voice be known. With sound, with action, you would squirm until I put you down, or squirm until I'd pick you up. You'd push my hand away when I tried to help you eat, messily pushing spoonfuls of food into your face, sometimes hitting your mouth and sometimes, the floor. You'd build towers of blocks to the sky and when they didn't stack exactly the way you hoped they would or remain standing for quite as long as you wanted them to, you'd let it be known.
And now that you can tell us what you think, as we attempt to pick out an outfit for you that at least somewhat coordinates, or god forbid, help you put said outfit on, you are right there proclaiming that, actually you want to wear a skirt, not jeans, and are quick to follow it all up with a strong, "...don't help me, Mama, I can do it." These days we find ourselves in the midst of many, what I like to call, 'battle of the wits'. I realize that this is an age thing, but it is even more than this with you. You live inside the definition of the word tenacity. I don't dare hold out my hand to help you down the stairs anymore, and I have to stand strong when it comes to helping you brush your teeth at night, you aren't old enough to do it yourself yet, or so the dentist says, but you won't back down from trying. No matter the task, you look at us with your three year old eyes that hold strong, and a spirit that exudes unending determination, as if to say, "thanks guys, but I've got this."
Through all of this, there is something we want you to know. Yes, Sav, sometimes, you CAN do it yourself. Sometimes you NEED to do it yourself. After all, how else will you learn? We know that the grit, the spunk that lies within your soul will allow you to do so very many things, and not just any old things, great things.
But, take it from someone who knows, the yet-to-be-confirmed source of where your strong-willed nature may stem from. Yes my love, yours truly, your Mama. A strong will can also have its downfalls. I have always had a similar fire burning inside my heart. And recently, I have been reminded by my own Father, your Papa, as he spends time with you and watches the way you tick, that as a child I wasn't so very different. He gently reminds me of the times that I would plant my feet so firmly to the ground that it was almost as if not even Hercules himself could've moved me. I have always had a strong sense for knowing (or thinking I know) what I want out of life. I've always stood resolutely to the direction I want to head, and more often than not it isn't in the same direction that everyone else is headed. After all I'm the girl who wore a black wedding dress down the aisle the day I got married. And so, yes, my love, I too am stubborn. In fact, you and I dear girl, ... we come from quite a long line of strong-willed women, my Mom, your Nana, has never been one to back down from something she believes in. And, she will be the first to say how much she loves to see how strong your little fire burns, she looks at you with pride in her eyes, "26 pounds of pure feist", she says. And her Mom, your Great-Nan, well, as I've spoken about before, her 90 pound frame contained an equivalent amount of spice, she was never afraid to say it the way she saw it.
And let us not forget your Daddy, for he is strong-willed too. Full of ideas and direction and gritty determination. You have already seen how fiercely he protects you and everything he holds dear. He believes strongly in the things he believes in and he is also not so easily swayed. His background is incredibly deep-rooted in strength.
So there you have it, from both sides of your world, my sweets ... fires that burn with some serious fury.
And now for my attempt at a few words of wisdom ... there are some things that I wish for you to know ... that, yes, it is good to have a will that is strong. Use it to take you to the places you want to go, to get you through the times that bring you to your knees, and to be the one, in the right moment who says, when someone tells you, you can't, "watch me". But, also don't be afraid to let go, my love. You don't always have to be strong.
Take it from me, there are some incredible lessons to be learned in simply, letting go.
Try this: when someone offers you help, just take it.
Feel the release inside your soul as you accept it and realize that you know what? - accepting help does not make you weak.
Your Dad has been fervently working on teaching me this. I continually find it hard to release my grasp. And, yes, there are legitimate reasons for this ... for one, as a woman, I've done it a million times, putting on a brave and bold face, working hard to prove myself, to be seen as an equal. And sometimes it has had nothing to do with justifying my strength as a woman, but instead, merely as a person. Like when I became a parent for the first time, I worked tirelessly at proving, to a nameless audience that I was, in fact Supermom herself, able to handle it all, even when inside I was crumbling, just like those block towers that you built too high. I feared admitting it, I wanted to make it through all on my own. In those early days, I didn't ask for and didn't take any help.
There have been many times in my life that I should have conceded, taken more help, asked for more support. And many times that I should've stepped back, even just a little bit and allowed myself to surrender. As much as being strong-willed can take you to high places, it can just as easily hold you to a standard so suffocating that you can end up plummeting.
So, my dear determined daughter, I ask you this ... be selective about where you use your stubborn strength: let it never be in defiance, or to hurt another, or most importantly, never let it be to the detriment of the health of your own soul. Let that furious fire of yours burn, burn, burn, alongside your incredibly smart, independent, and steadfast soul, but promise me this: that you will also seek to find joy in the moments where you can find solace in the support of your surroundings and just enjoy the ride as you coast along the thin, gentle line of softly rising smoke.