To be honest, this spiel started out as a “how to” post entitled “How to Cultivate Faith, Patience, and Courage.”
The main idea was that in order to cultivate these virtues, you must be placed in situations where they can develop. That’s really the only way. I started to tell the story of how I studied abroad in college and how my Type A tendencies were challenged by the new culture I found myself in. However, while reliving those moments, my mind wandered down a different rabbit hole.
This is what came next --
Before my daughter was born, I lived in an idyllic world.
I was aware of danger and, at the same time, I existed in a safe little bubble wherever I went. I was unafraid to venture off into the unknown. Bold. Daring. Brave. Ready to take on the world. That was me.
The day Lyric was born, it was like a switch went off in my brain. I am now super aware of everything that could go wrong and could happen to my baby girl. This is such a strange feeling for me. I don't feel very brave.
In fact, I am terrified. I feel extremely vulnerable because my heart now lives outside of my body. The thought of anything happening to my baby brings me to instant tears. I have to immediately change my thoughts because I know I can easily slip into a meltdown. I know because I've done it before.
I have never loved anyone as much as this child. I would give my life for her. I'm not being dramatic, either. Just ask pretty much any mama you know. They'll tell you. This love shit is real.
Now that Lyric is here, I look back on everything I've done thus far in my life and I realize how hard it must have been for Mama Terry to raise such a strong willed child who was determined to do things her own way. I can now understand how difficult it was for her to drop me off at college in Decatur, Georgia and then return to my hometown of Waco, Texas. She said she cried the whole way home. I now know why.
During my junior year in college, I studied abroad in Chile for 6 months. While there, I heard the story of a student who was doing the same program I was, only in Argentina. During one of the school breaks, he had traveled by himself to an area of Argentina known for its beauty. He checked into a local hostel and signed up for an excursion the following day.
During the excursion, everyone was allowed to wander off and explore. "Be back by such and such time," they were told. Long story short, he never returned and they never found him. He had gotten turned around while exploring and had come upon a lake. He saw a town on the other side of the lake and, since he was a strong swimmer, he decided to cross the lake. What he didn't anticipate was freezing night temps and how far the swim really was. One theory was that he had drowned in the lake (as opposed to foul play) because his belongings were found neatly folded next to the lake, untouched. His parents even flew down to Argentina to join the search party.
When I first heard the story all those years ago, my heart went out to his family. Now that I'm a mom, I think of this story and I am just floored. I simply cannot fathom the agony his parents felt and still feel to this day, 14 years later. Then I think about Lyric and I want to bawl my eyes out.
I promise I'm going somewhere with this post and it's not to depress you with sadness.
I want to express my gratitude to my mom for always supporting me and encouraging me to follow my heart, even when everything in her wanted me to play it safe so that I would be safe. This is a hard pill to swallow and I am so grateful that she never guilted me into taking the safe route and that she made me believe that anything is possible. For this, I thank you, Mamita.
She told me that, when I was born, she surrendered me to God and that she decided to have faith that He would take care of me. I'm convinced that faith is a muscle that must be exercised and my mom is still exercising her faith muscles, even to this day. She's a bodybuilder in that sense because, Lord knows, her daughter is still pretty determined to do things her own way.
Now it's my turn to become a bodybuilder in faith. Let me tell you -- the worry has only just begun. Lyric is crawling and attempting to stand/walk and I am so scared that she will somehow fall and bust her head. It makes me frantic, just thinking about it.
I am constantly saying mantras to affirm what I do want to happen. I am constantly praying and blessing her with divine protection and divine health. I have never prayed this much in my life.
And she's only 10 months.
Imagine when she starts high school or goes off to college or studies abroad. Or lives far away from me. As much as it pains me to even think about it, I will encourage her to spread her wings and fly, even though everything inside of me will always want to keep her safe under my own.
I've said often that my daughter is my greatest teacher. She is giving me a million opportunities to cultivate faith and courage. I cannot shut down and live in a cage (and subject her to the same way of living) just because I am scared. I now know I must surrender my life and hers to God, knowing that He will take care of us every step of the way.
Thank you, Liri, for teaching Mami how to truly trust the Universe. I will love you all the days of my life and beyond.
Again, thank you, Mamita, for encouraging me to follow my heart into the unknown and for covering me with your prayers. I love you so very much. You are still the most beautiful woman (on both the inside and outside) that I have ever seen.
Now it’s your turn. Comment below and let me know who have been the greatest teachers in your life.
I am cheering for you. Like you just fell down and it’s time to get back up.
From the Front Row,
P/S I just started a new blog on all things motherhood called New Moms Rule. Check it out and share it with your favorite mamas.