In life we have to take risks if we’re going to learn and grow. As a mother, I realize this is true but when it comes to Joaquin I cannot help but be anxious and worried sometimes (*Footnote 1). Maybe it’s me but “Mom” is just not synonymous with “Risk Taker” even for the sake of learning and growing. It would be an understatement to say that letting go is a practice of patience.
I have to explain that our son Joaquin is a climber, a mover, a shaker, and a runner. At nearly 17 months, he is a curious as they come and loves to explore, open, close, pull, jump, roll, investigate, throw, push buttons, unpack, re-pack, and sleep as little as possible. When he pulls chairs up next to the window ledge so he can chat with the neighbors and point at birds, when he jumps on the bed dangerously close to the edge, when he climbs the stairs or up the ladder of the park slide, I feel a lump in my throat and literally have to take a deep breath and stop myself from being a babbling helicopter parent who hovers over him, proceeding his every step. On my best days, I follow Juan’s lead, I step back, I anticipate and observe but I am never reluctant to let Joaquin try, because somehow that trying always leads to good, happy, progressive things – somehow that has never yet led us to the emergency room.
It’s amazing to me to think that Juan is celebrating his second Father’s Day, and yet, it seems to suit him so perfectly that he may as well be an old pro. Really. This post is not just a chance to toot Juan’s horn as a Father’s Day gift. This is an opportunity to say how much I admire his parenting – I’m amazed by it actually. I only wish I could be as cucumber-cool as Juan about my tiny baby flying like a rag doll down a slippery, dangerous slide (*footnote 2) or lay back and be as rest assured as my-heart-rate-is-fine-Juan that my little love bug won’t get swept away by violent, 10-12 foots waves crashing inches from his feet (*footnote 3). Somewhere in his zen-like state, Juan has found what seems to be the perfect balance when he is with Joaquin. He is confident and intentional, encouraging and protective, standoff-ish and fully present. Juan lets Joaquin do it himself, he doesn’t interrupt, he talks to him patiently and maturely, he allows him to touch things and lick things and hug strangers: he let’s Joaquin be a kid. To see the two together just warms my heart because they have so much fun, they laugh, they wrestle, they sing and dance, they go head-to-head, they snuggle…it’s almost annoying how cute they are.
So today, I want to honor an amazing man and a damn good father.
Juan, I have no idea how you don’t have multiple heart attacks a week watching our son learn and grow, but I am so very thankful that you don’t. I am honored that when you take him to the park and send me videos of his dare-devil moves I don’t have to witness it in person and faint in public. I feel so lucky that I can learn and grow into being Joaquin’s mother along with you as his a father, because you make me better at this “job”. I adore seeing how happy our son makes you, and how happy you make him.
We both love you beyond belief and wish you the happiest of Father’s Days, today and always.
*Footnote 1: Always
*Footnote 2: Slowly scooting himself along a sticky, children’s slide
*Footnote 3: There are no surfers anywhere because this is a lake.