We are driving through hilly Galena, Illinois enjoying a family
weekend when Jacey points out a long steep road straight
ahead. I tell her that her great grandparents, grandma, and
great aunt used to live up that road and that we will drive by
their old house once we get to the top.
I hear a cry from the back of the car. I turn around and
find Camryn shaking her head. She says, "I don't want to go
up that hill!" When I ask why she says, "It's too big, it's
I quickly climb to the backseat so I can sit by her and nod to
my husband to keep driving. I hug her as we begin to ascend
the hill. I tell her that I hear her and that I will stay
right next to her as she cries and holds on tight.
Right before we hit the top she lets out a scream, but it
quickly turns to silence as she catches a view of the other
side. In front of her are trees, houses, flowers and a
park. Her only word is, "oh".
She looks down and then looks at me with a half smile, she seems
embarrassed. But this is not a time for judgment or a time to
tell her that her feelings were wrong or silly. I don't want
her to feel shame or guilt for feeling her fear.
Climbing that steep hill was like venturing into the unknown and
her fear was valid and real. I say, do you understand
that your mind told you the hill was scary because it was big and
you couldn't see what was on the other side? Feeling
scared is normal, but sometimes we need to climb the hill to get to
where we need to go. She nods, and like a kid that just rode
her first roller coaster, she says, "ok….let's do it again!"
Driving up the hill while holding Camryn was like the first time
I walked her into preschool, the first time I helped her into a big
girl swing, and the first time I carried her into a pool.
They are new experiences and understandably scary, but they are
life steps that need to be taken.
Before that hill came into view I had been sitting in the front
seat mulling over some of my own thoughts and fears, going through
potential outcomes and worse case scenarios. My daughter's
cry from the backseat was similar to my own thoughts of I'm
scared, I'm stuck, I don't know what comes next. It was an
important moment, a teaching for her, a realization for me.
Driving up that hill was Camryn's small step toward embracing
the unknown, and for me it was a reminder of what I have already
experienced and what comes next. Do I dig in my heels and
refuse to climb the next hill, or do I let go and roll with
it? Of course the unknown can lead to things I don't want to
see or experience, but sometimes it's a place filled with trees,
flowers, parks and a new level of self understanding.
As I move back to my front seat I am barraged by a series of
questions and comments from Camryn - this new experience has left
her exhilarated, full of energy, full of life. I smile at her
and silently thank her for reminding me about my own journey, and
as I turn to face forward the chorus to a recent pop song comes
into my mind.....
There's always going to be another mountain
I'm always going to want to make it move
Always going to be an uphill battle,
Sometimes you're going to have to lose,
Ain't about how fast I get there,
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side…..
It's the climb
~ The Climb lyrics by Jesse Alexander and
John Mabe, song by Miley Cyrus
Cathy Adams is a certified parenting coach, yoga instructor and mother to three girls.
See more of Cathy's stories here.
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