Shhhhhh, it’s okay, Mommy’s here. Words I whisper often in the dark. During a child’s night terror. Or fever. Or middle of the night change of the sheets. I take my fingers and push her hair away from her forehead. I do my best with my presence and my words to reassure both of us that she indeed will be okay. That she is safe. That I will take care of her.
And how many of those nights have I crawled back into my own bed, pulled the covers up under my chin and wondered, Am I going to be okay? Those moments where I’ve asked God to turn up the whisper so I can hear his reassurance that he has me and I don’t need to fear. I’ve never heard an audible response, but sometimes I’ve felt a sudden peace fill my heart reassuring me that I am not alone in this world. But not always. Sometimes there is just the fear.
It almost doesn’t matter the worry. Because fear creeps in through many channels. Stress about enough money to cover the bills, about pediatricians’ concerns, about words that were misunderstood. Fear about growth charts and milestones, friendship and acceptance, marriage and meaning as a mom and a woman walking this planet. Seriously, give me something to worry about and my heart can be convinced quickly that it is a noble fear worth agonizing over.
But that fear does more than just keep me up at night. It takes over my body in tension, my thoughts as I fixate on things that are usually unlikely and certainly out of my control. It reigns over my heart as I am pulled away from dwelling in the mystery of life I’m surrounded by.
And oh so much easier to talk about living a brave life than actually doing the hard work of living it. But I know you are. I know, fellow mama, you are perhaps letting the tears hit the pillow at night as your own worries swirl around, but you are getting up in the morning. You are making those phone calls, going to that job, showing up to those appointments that might have difficult words to hear. You are listening and learning and making choices. Because you are the mother. And motherhood requires bravery.
I tell my girls you must be afraid in order to be brave. The presence of fear is not the absence of courage, it is the soil of it. Because courage grows and blossoms despite the worry. I see you mom and you are already brave. Now go and Be you, Bravely.
As a mom to four girls, ages 11, 8, 4 and 2, Alexandra Kuykendall is offered daily doses of the ludicrous and sublime. She is the author of this year’s MOPS International theme book, The Artist’s Daughter, A Memoir and is the Mom and Leader Content Editor for the organization. This means she reads a lot and writes when she can. But don’t be fooled by long and fancy titles, most of Alex’s days are spent washing dishes, driving to and from different schools and trying to find a better solution to the laundry dilemma. You can connect with her at AlexandraKuykendall.com.