He stood on the wooden stairs of our new house. Packing boxes scattered around him. I was sweating buckets hauling, moving and unpacking, and his little body perched on the stairs created a roadblock to my progress, “hey buddy you need to move so mama can get by,” I encourage him.
“No mama, I jump,” he says.
At which point he proceeds to jump, which basically means he hops and steps down onto the floor.
He repeats this about a billion times or at least it seems like a billion. Then bravely climbs up to the next stair. I wait with baited breath. Will he jump?
He looks at me sensing my anticipation “You catch me?” he asks smiling.
A question with so many connotations and only one answer …
“YES, of course,” I say relieved, as I’d rather not have to visit the ER.
He trusted me to say yes. There was no doubt on his face that I would say no, and let him fall on his face. I’ll always be there to catch both my boys when the need me, and my husband too.
Sometimes they want me to catch them and other times when I’m prepared with outreached arms ready to feel their bodies lurch into mine I’m left empty.
Because at a certain point in their lives they can finally jump on their own. They trust their judgment and my arms might prove to be more of a roadblock than a comfort. So, I step aside and let them jump from time to time.
I smile on the outside and encourage their forward momentum. While on the inside I’m screaming “NO” and my arms ache to cushion their fall.
We continue this jump and catch game another billion times, my arms aching and my heart bursting with joy. Then he says the words I knew were coming “I do myself.”
Stepping aside I let him go on his own, his jump is perfected now and he gets air, flies and lands … CLUNK safely on the ground.
I’ll always be there to catch them.
But I also know sometimes you need to just let them JUMP, because they need to fly.