Featured, Motherhood

On being fragile.

January 30, 2015


Leo_Volume_2_260(I wrote this on 9/17/14. Just after Leo’s first birthday. This week has been one of those where I constantly am stopped in my tracks by how fast my sweet boy is growing. I’m feeling nostalgic so it seem apropos to share something I wrote several months back, before this blog even started. This topic is super close to my heart, and it is interesting how this theme of vulnerability has been simmering within me for some time. I hope you can resonate with even a small part of this.)

Leo fell last night. Not just an, “I’m learning to walk almost, but still am all wobbly” kind of fall, it was actually a ‘dramatic, I may have to take my kid to the hospital,’ kind of fall. One second I’m feeding him hard boiled egg bits, talking with friends, thinking about how surprised I am that he loves hard boiled egg bits and then in a flash, SMACK! My teeny tiny baby (okay, my little one year old who still seems like a teeny tiny baby to me), is face first on the floor, in a bumbo seat, that was just a second before sitting next to me on a bench and now he is: On. The. floor. SHOOT! I hop up at lightning speed, somehow get the bumbo tray off faster than I knew was possible, CRAP, CRAP, CRAP! Leo is in my arms within seconds. Weeping! Tears rolling down both of our faces, sheer terror running through my mind … is he broken? I try to examine him while consoling him. I’m also trying to hold it together even though I want to cry as hard as he is. How did this happen? So quickly? Am I a bad mom? Does he have a concussion? Should I go to the ER? A million thoughts run through my head. Guilt and fear coupled with a desire to be strong and brave.

This morning, Leo has a swollen face, and a bruised cheek. He’s acting like himself, and probably doesn’t even remember what happened. But I am licking my wounds.

It is amazing and terrifying how much being a parent changes you. I sometimes feel like I lived within my own body for 28 years, and now I live outside of myself, in the body of a one year old, busy boy. I know it is cliché to say, but I truly mean it. It is so profound to birth another human. You are no longer just one person. You’ve created this extension of yourself that somehow independently (yet very dependently) lives and breaths and moves and grows … and someday he’ll be his own person, and have no idea how connected we are, but I’ll know, and that blows my mind.

I’m also processing how fragile he is, correction: how fragile we are. Of course Leo’s body is a bit smaller and softer and has a lot of growing to do, but even though my body is bigger and stronger, I’m wondering if my soul is more fragile than his.


The resilience of a child amazes me. He literally has no idea that he fell yesterday as he plays with his leggos this morning and tries to sit on Charlotte’s head as she rolls her eyes. He has no clue that I’m starring at the bruise on his face thinking of how stupid it is that I could have lost him just from a fall out of a bumbo seat! I’m running all the “what if’s” through my mind, and making myself feel like garbage. Because as a parent I am supposed to be able to predict this kind of thing happening, right?! and if I can predict it, then or course I can prevent it. Or at least catch him one handed, mid air before he falls to the linoleum floor face first. But I can’t. I have no super powers. Just a super powerful love that makes me feel so vulnerable and fragile that I may break easier than his little body ever could.


It’s the most frightening thing to love someone this much and yet have very little control over what happens to them. My frail spirit cannot take it. I totally get why mom’s are crazy about their kids, and yet I really do not want to be like that. As much as I hate acknowledging the vulnerable and fragile state-of-being that is motherhood, I want to embrace it because I feel like the more I walk face first into these feelings, the stronger I will get and the braver I will get and the better mom I will be! I don’t want to live in fear of him breaking, but I also don’t want to stuff down the feelings of fear that naturally come with taking care of another human that I have sustained for over a year, day in and day out. That stuff is heavy and amazing and real and raw and painful and awful and all of this at once

… but there is something to learn here … I’m not quite able to put words to it yet, but I feel like the more I lean into how vulnerable and out of control I feel being a mom, the more I will gain the courage to trust and let go and give grace and love this kid as much as possible, while simultaneously allowing him to grow into himself.

We’re all fragile. And yet we survive. And often, we more than survive, we flourish and grow and discover and love. Is fragility and vulnerability a sign of weakness? Or is it the very thing that drives us to be real and pursue growth. When I acknowledge my weakness, it secures my ability to push through and keep going … if I were unbreakable, what would be the point of growing? I would be stagnant and hard and still. I like my permeable self. I’m fluid and soft and moving, and that feels like living to me.


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