While you were still growing within me, your heartbeats were lead by my own. Every part of me wanted to be of instruction to you, but your hearts found a rhythm of their own. They galloped so fast, exhaustingly fast. Even after you were born, you raced ahead – my rhythm of protect, guide, nurture overpowered by the steady beat of trust, explore, discover.
Your enthusiasm for experiencing the world was equal to my determination to protect you from it. I didn’t want to hide you away from every single bad thing – skinned knees, bruised egos, and the occasional concussion are great character builders. But I wanted for you the greatest luxury of all – the opulent and sumptuous paradise of never knowing true loss, grief or pain. I wanted you to believe that bad things could never happen to you, that you were safe, that death and disease happened to other people. Basically, I was super-realistic.
As you continued racing forward, you left behind my decadent fantasy world in which nothing could harm you. I tried to drag it along with me, to throw up walls for you when I thought you needed them. But I also tried to teach you to build your own walls. Walls you could climb on top of and scream from if you needed to make your voice heard, walls to keep you safe from people who would hurt you or take advantage of you, walls you could retreat behind and decorate with your own delusions when the path ahead got too scary.
You taught me this week that walls aren’t always the best strategy. When faced with a mean girl, Avery you kept being nice and nicer and nicest, despite my recommendations otherwise. You didn’t see a mean girl, you saw a hurt girl. Because of your kindness and unwillingness to give up, you became a friend to her and helped her during a horrific and terrible time in her life.
Allie, you’re trying and I’m trying to get out of your way. For the first time ever, I don’t know how to counsel you. When faced with someone who doesn’t like me, my reflex has always been to not like them back even harder, or to just not care. My reflex has been walls, the construction and defending thereof. My defense is turbo-charged ennui. Deep down, I know I want to be liked, so that I then have the option to not like them first. I’m super-emotionally healthy, right?
The point is I had to build my walls because my life circumstances necessitated them. They kept me from getting more hurt than I was, they helped me section off compartments of my life so that I could function, they made me stronger than I should have been. I know now that you don’t need those walls because you have your heart. Your heart that is guiding you to the right choices, made from a place of love and safety that is more luxurious than any fantasy I could have built for you. Please continue to listen to that heart. If you need a wall, I know a girl, but your heart is stronger and more beautiful than any wall could ever hope to be.