We were singing Moana songs in the car on the way to preschool on Friday morning. I told Annabelle that I love the movie Moana. I think it's funny and inspirational.
"What does inspirational mean?" she asked me curiously.
When you become a mom you quickly realize that you will have to define everything. You have to teach so many things that you kind of take for granted that you even know, simple things like definitions of words and more complex things like how things work or why people act a certain way. As a parent, you get to learn about the world all over again and see it with fresh eyes. On a daily basis, I have to stop and think how do I explain or define this. Thankfully sometimes Google rescues me. Sometimes I say I don't know. Sometimes I ask what she thinks. And sometimes I wing it and give the best explanation I can. Some days I feel like I know nothing about the world and some days I feel I know nothing about myself.
Being a parent is a journey of self-discovery and hopefully, it is the journey of becoming your best self. It is inspiring at times. But it can also be frustrating and discouraging. The biggest thing to remember as a parent is to give yourself grace. You are not going to have all the answers. You are not going to always get it right. You do the best you can and that is good enough. Remember you are enough. That is something that is often so hard to remember as a parent. We question and doubt. Parenting doesn't happen all at once. You certainly are not going to have all the answers right away--actually, never. You will never have all the answers. It's okay to say I don't know. It's more than okay to ask for help. We do the best we can and we learn little by little.
So I told her that being inspired is kind of like seeing someone who does something strong, brave or smart and it makes you feel like you could do something great too. It motivates you. (Luckily she didn't ask me to define motivate too. Sometimes I get into a loop of defining words using other new words then just get stumped.)
Without hesitation and very matter of fact, she says "But I can't even move the couch!" (when we are cleaning we move the couch)
I did not see that response coming. I giggled. Then quickly tried to compose myself I didn't think laughing was polite to her very honest response. So I quickly tried to lift her up. This is as close my response as I remember (I wrote it down shortly after I got home).
Well yes, you can't move it now but someday you will. You will get stronger little by little if you work at it. Just like gymnastics and learning to read you learn a little at a time. When you started gymnastics you couldn't do much but you worked at it and now you are stronger. Before you couldn't hold yourself up or balance or do somersaults. I bet sometimes you see the girls doing cartwheels and flips and think you can't do that or it's so much to learn.
"Yeah," she says in a small defeated voice.
But if you keep practicing you will get there. You are already starting to do cartwheels and balancing better and do flips on the bars now. You are so much stronger than you were when you started.
"That's true I can do cartwheels now."
It takes time. It takes doing it little by little, one step at a time. Do you think Moana could just sail across the ocean and climb and take on Te Ka? No, she worked on the island and got stronger as she grew up.
I could tell she was starting to understand but still in doubt so I continued...
So I was blogging--which is like writing a story but it's online instead of printed in a book. And in this story, I felt discouraged because the recipe for the neighbor's cake is a little complex and I am not a good baker. Our neighbor is a good baker because she does it all the time. She told me that I don't need to make the complicated and difficult recipe to start out with. I should start with something smaller and simpler, a recipe easier to make. Then I can practice and work my way up to that cake. I learn it little by little and it gets easier.
Annabelle mumbled something in agreement. I could tell she understood more. She also offered some encouraging words. I wish I remembered exactly what they were but we were pulling into the car dropoff line for preschool. She asked if we could have "turkey chicken" a recipe that Jon makes. It's just chicken but at some point, she wouldn't eat chicken if you called it chicken but she would eat turkey. So one day we said "turkey chicken" and somehow that dish is always called that. It's chicken with a rosemary balsamic glaze (on the side she doesn't eat the glaze so it's literally plain chicken).
It was quickly our turn in line and the rush to get her out of the car was on. Unbuckled her. "Here is your coat and bag." The teacher whisked her off. I yell "I love you!" as she exits the car, just in time before the door closes. Just like that our unexpected little life lesson was over almost as quickly as it started.
The car in front of me thankfully took a little while to pull away and I watched her walk with a little more confidence up those stairs with her little backpack that's almost as big as she is. The Moana song, Where You Are, was still playing. My heart was full. I was overcome with emotion as I had a flashback to dropping her off her first day of preschool.
She is now more than halfway through her second year of preschool. Soon she will be going off to kindergarten. Little by little (although it seems much faster) she is growing up. The song that was playing was the one she asked me to listen to the Moana song from the beginning of the movie. I asked her if it was the one Moana grows up in. Of course was, Where You Are.
The lyrics are some of the best...
You may hear a voice inside
And if the voice starts to whisper
To follow the farthest star
Moana, that voice inside is
Who you are
Annabelle, you inspire me every day. You are strong, clever, kind, sweet, honest and funny. I love how much you want to learn, your curiosity and your sense of adventure. You make me a better person. I know I was meant to be your mom. I want you to remember that, come what may, you know the way! Listen to that voice inside you. Someday you will move that couch and so much more.
--I read parts of this post to Annabelle she corrected me and said she can move the couch. She also thinks on Friday she said she could move the couch. Although that doesn't make sense in our conversation, so not sure if she is changing it after the fact or if I heard her incorrectly. In any case, she can, in fact, move the couch now.