I recall being easily overwhelmed most my life.
I remember taking my son on his first hike. He was almost three and he complained about every six feet of trail. I would keep walking. He would stop and and cry when I would reach three yards away, “Mommy, wait!” I decided that if I gave him more control of our route he would be more inclined to enjoy the great outdoors. “Which path should we take now?” He pointed up the hill. “There.” Encircled by a worn bike path, a lone Manzanita bush stood near a flat surfaced boulder at the inkling of incline up the hill. We made it past the rock and spotted a blue bellied lizard, he was not amused, he wanted to go home. I was determined to go on this hike. I watched as he took one step in front of the other, heel toe, toe heel. He would constantly turn his head and panic as if I were going to vanish. We got a quarter of the way, tears streaming as his mouth shaped the letter “m” turned to “A”, he slid into me. I grabbed his hand and picked him up and he clung to me like a baby marsupial. Half way up the hill I stopped to catch my breath and almost slipped, I knew moving up would be difficult, but somewhat less challenging than heading back down. My heart beat strait into his each step. Occasionally he would shudder, so I began to mutter, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” We got to the top, “I know I can, I know I can, I know I can.” He smiled and laughed and didn’t cry again that day. I looked down the almost 90 degree hill we’d conquered and we both agreed mommy would lead the rest of the way home.
My son has shown me over and over the strength I never knew I had. At times I feel as if I am wrapped in that hillside, sensing the added weight of responsibility, swallowed with determination and pride, and each time I make it to the other side learning more about myself along the way.