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Challenge: WHO Are You?

'I just keep walking': Through it all, I am the girl

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They are small... and as I walk ahead of them I notice my thoughts. While they are small I am to lead.

I am to model.

I am to be all that I hope they will be.

At times it is not in me. I am still growing up. I am still becoming. In my heart, I am still that unsure teenager.

I am the girl with a difficult past.

I am the girl with a raw story.

I am the girl with open wounds.

I am the girl who feels ill equipped for this job.

I am the girl who is leading.

And yet, they still follow.

Looking up at me.

Holding my hand.

Following my head and my heart.

There is no room for me in those moments. I enter into this stage nervously and insecurely. At times I long to take a deep breath in private. Yet the beauty of when they are small overtakes me. I am expected to walk ahead of them. I am expected to put me aside for them — and I do.

I learn to do this effortlessly, and at the same time I forget about the girl with the story.

I just keep walking — one foot in front of the other — often hard on myself about my mistakes.

They are growing... and as I walk behind them, I notice the space.

As they enter into the changes of their body, their mind and their moods, I am to follow closely behind.

While they are coming of age, I am to allow them to become.

Available for when and if they need me.

I am to hold them when they fall, and at the same time not ask if they’re falling.

I am to be invisible, and invincible at the same time.

My feelings are secondary. I remind myself of things like “it’s not personal”.

I am the girl whose past now informs her present.

I am the girl whose gifts from her story help her to be strong.

I am the girl whose wounds have scabs.

I am the girl who knows I was meant to be their mother.

I am the girl who is following.

There is room to breathe these days — almost too much room. Who am I? What actually ARE my hobbies? Closed doors and anxious hearts are what I specialize in as I follow closely behind. I enter into this stage of life, hesitantly, and somewhat sadly. Yet the gifts I receive are plentiful. I have time to take that long breath and not so much time that I feel lonely. It is really the perfect mix of time to get to know me and to still be busy enough to ignore that which I am not yet ready to feel.

I have learned to follow closely but not too close and am hearing the girl and her story once again.

Lessons I thought I had learned circle back around for deeper understanding.

I just keep walking — one foot in front of the other — giving myself grace in the face of mistakes.

They are grown... and as I walk beside them I will notice our friendship.

Once they are grown, they no longer need me to lead, nor follow.

They would prefer I walk beside them as an equal.

Believing in their choices, and accepting even when I have doubts.

Holding them up even when they believe it’s not needed.

They are busy with their own lives and building fast. At the same time, my life is slowing down, creating ample room to grow. Vast space to hear. Almost too much space and too much room. Is it quiet in here or is it just me? I can hear the girl and her story again and sometimes the quiet allows too much room to think.

My ability to grow and flourish during this stage depends on the work I put in during their growing stage.

Did I listen to the girl inside?

Did I find my hobbies?

Did I discover the gifts from her story instead of focusing on the pain?

Did I allow the scabs to fall off and create beautiful scars?

Did I meet the girl where she was and honor her journey?

Did I become my own loving parent through it all?

Did I remind her she is OK?

She can do this.

She is doing this.

She is strong.

She is beautiful.

She lead, she followed and now it is her time to walk beside.

It is her time to be.

She did her job well, even through the doubts.

She never pretended to be perfect, apologizing when needed.

She used her story to help her children find their gifts.

She used her pain to propel her forward.

She fell, she got up, she persevered ... even when in doubt.

I am the girl whose past built beauty.

I am the girl whose pain provided peace when I let it.

I am the girl whose wounds have scars to tell the story, she need not revisit.

I am the girl who is so grateful to have led, to have followed, and to hold their hands as I walk right beside them.

I hear the girl again, yet she is not so needy now. She holds her head high, knowing that perfection is not needed, nor was it ever.

I just keep walking — one foot in front of the other, honoring my mistakes, walking beside these beautiful humans as they create their own stories.

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