“Wow, you are really high!” I said, somewhere in the middle of impressed and anxious. “Why don’t you come down now, you’re making mommy a little nervous.”
“Not yet, mommy, first I have to sing my song!” Her tone leaves no room for interpretation and I remind myself that she plays on the playground multiple times a day at school without me there to helicopter parent her actions. She’s always been the kind of kid to push the limits ever so slightly, to climb just a little higher and reach for the stars. She’s always lived life on her own terms.
She twirls gracefully on the bar as she sings a song with no words, one hand waving easily through the air as the other keeps her balanced. I try to watch her brave, confident face more than the precarious placement of her feet, to listen to her song and admire her fearlessness. I remind myself that it’s a small playground and a short fall and that I am right there. I tell my face not to show my anxieties, not to force my fears onto her prematurely. She has her whole life to meet uncertainty and doubt.
When her song is finished, she expertly swings around and down into the play structure behind her and flings herself down a slide before running off to her next adventure and I continue my job of cheerleader and number one fan.