To Be Brave

“Did you cry?” I asked Charlotte from the driver’s seat on the way to daycare.

Over the weekend, my girlfriends and I took our lot of kids to Centre Island for a fun playdate. Not only is the island a scenic landscape for picnics, BBQs, and family reunions, but it also boasts a little amusement park full of tame rides perfect for preschoolers. It turned out to be a fantastic day with just enough sun to scorch the back of my legs and melt off my face (figuratively, obviously). But lucky for me, the slivers of shade every few hundred feet provided much solace in the form of a gentle breeze.  

Charlotte had never been on any amusement rides before so I was curious (but also nervous) to see how she would react. I was preparing myself for the worst as suppressed memories of last year’s zoo fiasco flashed before my eyes.

She was well into the swing of things by the second ride and adamant about going on every ride after that until we got to the mighty one of all (for her size). The big kahuna (but even then, it was maybe only 7 feet off the ground at its highest point). We decided as a group that she’d ride it with my friend so that I could stay behind to watch our luggage wagon (of endless childrearing supplies) and keep my vertigo at bay. Everything was great until the locomotive hit its peak and the downward drop (again, a slight 20-degree angle) made her regret life whatever a 4-year-old thinks of regretting at that age.

“No, I didn’t cry, but I was scared.” She replied from the backseat. 
“Oh, but you were so brave!” I said, trying to get her to see the positive.
“No, mama! I wasn’t brave, I was scared.” 
“Charlotte, what you did was brave. Brave means you are scared of something but you do it anyway.”

One of the best things about living with a lunatic 4-year-old is how brilliant they can actually be at times. The things she teaches me or reminds me of every single day is extraordinary.

When was the last time you did something brave? What was that like?

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41 thoughts on “To Be Brave

  1. I want to be flippant and say the last brave thing I did was get up this morning, but I won’t. Instead I’ll go with I was brave when I decided to plant bulbs in the wooded ravine behind our house. I had to walk/slide down the hillside to get to a planting spot, then dig in the dirt while not falling into the creek below. I did it, but I was scared. Of course, daffodils are worth it!

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    • Omg, that sounds life-threatening! lol… you are one dedicated gardener or daffodil lover! 🙂 Either way, good for you Ally! I so admire people who do things that scare them! (Also, I would have enjoyed your answer about getting up being brave, hehe -me too)!🤣

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    • Aw yay! That’s so amazing! Presenting in front of a group of people has always been a weak point for me, I was also so timid and shy and was self-conscious about my skills so I imagine teaching a group of people would be much the same for me so KUDOS to you!! 💕

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  2. I was not a brave child so when I had my son, I encouraged him to try things and always had his back. He is 30 and much braver than I was at that age. These days though I have changed. I started kayaking at 60 even though I can’t swim and was always terrified of water. And I love it.

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    • OMG, I actually love this and can relate (in that I also can’t swim and grew up/still am terrified of water)! Because I am terrified of water, I don’t want Charlotte to grow up with that same limitation (hoping to start swimming lessons next summer when she’s 5). I am so in awe of your bravery to go and start something so new and so scary! The fact that you love it and it feels amazing is enough proof that when you do what scares you, you get rewarded!

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  3. TODAY! I’m petrified of doctors including the eye doctor. And I had an exam today and did really well not spazzing out. Even though like Charlotte, I was scared. I also made an appointment for a necessary surgery so I can just get it over with. So yes, lots of courage today! I feel so relieved that I’m through it for now (surgery is in July). And I MIGHT just have to reward myself with ice cream this evening 😊 I’m glad you enjoyed yourself, sounds like a magical day!!

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    • Haha thanks, she’s the cutest lunatic though! LOL This morning she on and on about something I still could not decipher lol they seem to string together sentences from the moment, yesterday and things that happened last year LOL… it’s sweet though!

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  4. First, kudos to the excellent parenting. Charlotte was brave, and you reinforced that. Even admitting she was afraid takes courage. One of my strengths as a teacher was bringing those kids along that were frightened of new experiences. It’s all about providing safe opportunities and being supportive.
    I used to be one of those kids, and I was much happier when I got out of my comfort zone. Going through life always trying to play it safe and never growing is not a satisfying way to go through life.

    I don’t think this qualifies as brave, but my wife usually organizes our travel plans. I just returned from my two-week cross-country adventure, and I managed everything this time, including planes, rental cars, hotels, activities on the trip, Uber, and a workable schedule. It was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken, but it’s sure nice to be home.

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    • Thanks Pete, it’s these little moments I feel like I am doing a good job as a parent. The other times just feel like surviving LOL… I love that you mention providing a safe opportunity and to be supportive because that’s all children want and need I believe.

      That totally qualifies as brave! I think we’ve discussed this in a previous comment before but my husband has your wife’s personality- he usually is the one who plans things, takes care of the finances etc… When we go on long trips (particularly overseas), he’s the one who plans everything down to the last detail. Meanwhile I feel lost at Costco LOL (and the airport and navigating my way around new places)! LOL So you are definitely brave and kudos back to you! 🙂 So glad you had the best trip ever!! 🙂

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  5. I remember Centre Island from when I was a kid and I think we only went once and it was the same as you – a Summer vacation outing, mid-week, moms only with their kids and we packed a picnic lunch. I think I was more excited about the ferry trip (my first). I guess they had rides back then (circa early 60s) but I can’t say for sure. I’ve seen pics of us at the picnic table.

    I can’t remember the last time I did something brave; maybe riding the roller coaster with friends but that was a very long time ago. They shamed me into going on it, though I was scared and lived to tell about it, but wouldn’t do that now. You get chicken about things the older you get – you look back and say “I did that!?” or “What was I thinking?”

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    • Yes! They still have rides! I wonder if it’s the same as it was from way back then!? That’s amazing you still have memories of that! And yes, I have the same reaction thinking back about the crazy antics we pulled off as kids compared to thinking about Charlotte doing the same at my age back then… gives me shivers!

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      • I do have memories Jen, especially the ferryboat ride (first one ever). Here in the Detroit area, many people reminisce about going on a ferry to Boblo Island, a small Canadian Island which is close to Amherstburg, Ontario. People would go for the day and picnic and go on the rides, but they closed it in the 1990s. It was a big attraction at one time, but now there are stately homes there with beachfront property instead of amusement rides. I hope that doesn’t happen to Centre Island.

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  6. I just watched an episode of Love, Death, and Robots, where childbearing was illegal, and one of the characters said that children help us live our lives again, to see things through their eyes. And your message here comes close to that. Nice thoughts.

    And for me? I’m pretty much a coward when it comes to confrontation, so that time when I asked me neighbour to pipe it down with his guitar practice past midnight, I felt pretty proud of myself. Still need a lot of work though.

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  7. Awww. Growing up moment for Charlotte! How did it make you feel?

    The last brave thing I did was to walk away from this dating situation-ship that was starting to feel toxic even though I liked hanging out with the guy.

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    • I was so proud of her but also made me remember about being brave in general- how that one dimensional view of bravery is not accurate. Bravery can show up in all sorts of ways and I wanted her to know she was brave that day! 🙂

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  8. The last time I did something brave I injured myself badly and couldn’t write for a while 😂 🤦‍♀️ but in a way… it was kinda worth it too! Love your four year old’s secret wisdom through you. Beautifully put!

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