More than anything, I want Matilda to grow up feeling like she can do anything she sets her mind to. Just because she was once very fragile and on life support doesn't mean that she is now. In fact, Matilda was gifted a second chance at life, and I hope that she lives it to the fullest.
Of course, the idea of that also terrifies me. It took me a full year to be comfortable with her playing at a public park. But she has proved time and time again to be mighty. The hardest part, for any parent is, of course, allowing for opportunities to exhibit responsibility in a safe and reasonable way.
Sure I find myself, just as any parent does, saying "no" far too often. Don't touch that, don't go over there, don't even think about it! And although I want to create a safe environment, that message is not the one that kids are hearing. Instead Matilda hears - I don't trust you, you are incapable, you don't know enough to understand.
The balance of our words and actions is not an easy one, but I feel like creating activities to showcase and nurture responsibility is helpful. It can be something as simple as allowing your three-year-old to make a terrarium all by herself - with glass, and rocks, and fragile plants - to teach her that although things are breakable, you trust her. Although, they should be careful, you know they can. Although the responsibility is great, you know they will keep that plant alive.
We all have to say no sometimes, to protect and to shield, but hopefully the moments they remember are the ones full of empowerment and joy.