On Sunday, I wrote of the many qualities that Miles possesses that make me proud to call him mine. I spoke mostly of bravery, before, but equally impressive to me is his willingness to 'get back on the horse', as it were.
Being that Miles is an incredibly active little boy, he has had more than his share of bumps and bruises. His share of falls, wipe-outs, trips, and stumbles. Each time, my heart leaps into my throat, certain that this time, he is really going to hurt himself. And that he will become scared of [playgrounds/hills/animals/furniture/whatever-he-has-fallen-off-this-time] and refuse to interact with it again.
If only I were so lucky.
I'm joking, of course. More or less. While his insatiable need to go right back to what he was doing is a positive quality in a lot of ways, the part of me that wants to protect him from the world fears for him. Instead, I sit on my hands and allow him to try again, because I don't want him to lose that determination to keep at it until he gets it right. Someday, this quality will help him score a goal in a sport that was difficult for him, or master a difficult mathematical concept, or ask a girl on a date. It will help him become a successful person, never accepting defeat. And that's a quality I want him to have.
For now, though, it's difficult to watch. On Saturday, as he played on the playground at a local park, he lost his balance and face-planted onto hard plastic. Patrick immediately scooped him up, and together we tried to examine the damage, fearing that he had bitten his tongue, or worse, had loosened a tooth. In his moment of pain, however, Miles twisted away from us, clamping his mouth closed. I wiped the blood off, trying to get a better look at him, but he tore off, and climbed onto the same play structure that he had been injured on. It wasn't until much later, when we were finally able to get him strapped into his carseat to go home, that we were able to see that the scary amount of blood had all come from a split lip. Sore, definitely, but not nearly as bad as we had feared.
I remember being a child. I remember how afraid I was of pain. How afraid I still am. When I fell off of a playground structure, it terrified me to go anywhere near it for months afterward. And yet, and 19-months-old, Miles has nothing of that quality in him. And I am so happy for this one thing he did not inherit.