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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Fear vs. Courage

This past Saturday I watched Kaden overcome fear with courage. It was remarkable to watch it all play out in front of me over the course of a few hours.

You see, Uncle Adam had picked up some lumbar to build a jumping platform for the boys. We don't utilize the far side of the dock except to park the Sea-Doo and paddle boards when they are not in use. The far side only has a walkway so you can't really "hang out" over there and we've been talking about a slide or a jumping platform for a while now. Well, Uncle Adam was done talking. 

He and Craig spent the first few hours of Saturday morning constructing the plaform. Kaden eagerly awaited. As did Colton and Logan. Once the platform was built and tested by the adults of the fmaily, it was the boys' turn. Kaden climbed up to the top. He stood there. Turned right back around as he picked at his fingernails and told Colton and Logan they could go. He'd wait.

Colton jumped.


Logan jumped.


Kaden climbed back up and right back down and put his sweet little head into my chest and the tears started to flow. He so desperately wanted to jump off the new platform just like his cousin and brother but he just couldn't muster up the courage. I explained that sometimes, we just need a little extra time to assess the situation before feeling 100% comfortable. That we had all weekend and all summer to conquer that platform. He didn't want to wait all weekend, all summer. He wanted to conquer it that day.

So he climbed right back up and sat down. On the edge. He knew all it would take was one little push off and the rest would be history but he just couldn't find it in him and he made his way back down the steps. 


I asked him about his fears. He was afraid that his feet would hurt when he hit the water. He put on his water shoes. He was afraid it was too high. We talked about how he went off the high dive at Grammy's pool last summer. You could see the courage start to grow within him but he needed a break. He went back up to the house and changed out of his swimsuit. Fear was still overpowering his courage.

He came back down an hour later. In a new suit. More determined to conquer that platform.

He went up. This time with Logan beside him. Patting his back. Giving him a little pep talk. Telling him it was okay either way. Kaden listening. Picking at his fingernails while carrying on a conversation in his own head. 


He came down again. And his head immediately went back to my chest. Tears once again filled his eyes. He felt defeated. I got down to his level, which isn't far anymore since he's so tall, and told him just how proud I was of his desire and will to stick with it. That climbing those steps took so much courage and that he should be proud of himself too. A little smile came across his face and when he looked up at me, I put my hands on both sides of his face and told him that I loved him and couldn't be more proud of him. That jumping off that platform or not jumping off that platform wouldn't change how much I loved him and that I supported him either way. 

And then, I told him, that I had to go up to the house for a second and NOT to jump while I was gone, I didn't want to miss it. And he smirked as he ran towards the platform. I went up to the house, grabbed what I needed and when I got back down he was still there. I asked Becky if he had gone and she shook her head no. As I went to change the music, I heard, "Mom, watch!"

And off he went. Courage had defeated fear.

He came up to hooping and hollering from me, Grammy, Aunt Becky, Logan and Colton. More importantly, he came up with the biggest smile I had ever seen and shouted, "I'm doing it again!" 

And he did, without hesitation, at least 15 times in a row.


I never want it to go unnoticed how much of an internal struggle he had that day. He battled with himself for hours before making that leap of faith. I can't help but wonder how different this would have played out prior to being diagnosed with ADHD and starting medication. Kaden tends to be impulsive and he doesn't think much before acting but after introducing medication into his day to day world, he does stop. He analyzes the situation. He thinks before he acts and in this case, maybe a little too much BUT in the end, he won. He created enough courage within himself to push the fear aside for 5 seconds -- and that is all he needed. Five seconds where his courage outweighed his fear and he soared.

I'm proud of both the boys for conquering that platform, it wasn't easy and I know because I jumped too. However, I also know the immense struggle that Kaden overcame and how Logan sat there beside him and encouraged him -- he saw Kaden struggling too and instead of adding to his worries, he helped push those fears away right there alongside him. There aren't enough words to describe how much pride and admiration I was feeling for both of our boys in that moment. 

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