Thursday, August 19, 2010

It's Just a Matter of Trust

Ryan would happily spend all day long marching around, hanging on to my hands. In fact, he’s got me so well trained in providing said hands that in the middle of doing something else, he’ll decide he wants to stand up and walk and without even looking around, he’ll just hold up his hands and grab, assuming (usually correctly) that my hands will be right there, ready and waiting for him.

It’s such a lovely demonstration of trust. He doesn’t need to confirm that I’m there, or that I know what he wants, or that I’m willing to help. He doesn’t need to see me, or to see my hand and reach for it. He just reaches out, like a surgeon who needs a scalpel, without a doubt in his mind that my hand will magically be there for him. I find the most interesting part of that to be the “not looking”. When you sit down at the dinner table and reach for your fork, you know the fork is there, and yet you still look at it before you pick it up. You don’t just blindly reach out and assume it will somehow land in your hand. But that’s exactly what Ryan does. That’s true trust.

What a wonderful thing for a child to have that kind of trust. No doubt, no hesitation. Expecting Mom or Dad to be there for him all the time, with never a flicker of thought that they might not be. He plunges through life, absolutely secure that we will be there to protect him from dangers and to provide for his every need. And we do. When he climbs the stairs, I’m right behind him to be sure he doesn’t fall back down. When he scrambles across the couch, I’m at the edge making sure he doesn’t launch himself onto the floor. When he’s playing beside the pool, one of us is always between him and the water. When he’s playing in the pool, Daddy has him securely to be sure he doesn’t try to breathe underwater or forget that he can’t actually swim. We strap him into the car seat, the grocery cart, and the stroller so he doesn’t get himself into trouble. Everywhere he goes, and everything he does, he doesn’t need to be concerned with his own safety because we do it for him. He trusts us to protect him. He trusts us utterly and completely.

But someday, probably sooner than I expect, he’ll decide that he’s ready to trust himself. He’ll walk without holding my hands. He’ll bob in the pool without assistance for a split-second. He’ll climb the stairs without a human cushion behind him. He’ll launch himself off the couch. And he’ll probably crash into something, get water up his nose, fall down a stair or two, and land on the floor on his head. And he’ll probably cry. But he’ll also probably get up, dust himself off, and do it all over again. And he’ll discover that he’s pretty trustworthy, too.

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