On bravery

BRAVE (adjective):  “having or showing courage, especially when facing difficulty, danger, or pain”

Bubby is a brave boy. I need to remember that and not worry so much.

I admit that the fact that he still cries easily at eleven years old and is very sensitive emotionally sometimes makes me worry that he is wimpy.  I shudder to think of where I got this highly gendered notion of appropriate behavior.  I guess for all my feminism, I am, after all, still a product of my time and place.  I try hard not to let that influence too much how I respond to my son.

But the thing is…he is really so incredibly brave. He feels a lot.  He gets anxious and worries too much, and he can really exercise that imagination of his to come up with all sorts of potential disasters.  But time and again he’s shown himself to be stunningly brave.

For example, last night. He lost his first molar.  Big deal, right?  Well, when was the last time YOU lost a tooth?  It hurts, and when you’re eleven and a sensitive kinda kid, it’s a little scary, too.

“I think something’s WRONG, Mom.  This isn’t normal.”  He went on to describe the perfectly normal sensations of losing a stubbord molar that is half out and half in, digging into the tender flesh of the gum line.

He had tried several approaches to getting it out, but nothing had worked.  Finally, I said to pull it down as far as you can and then twist it.  He repeated the instructions aloud, and then he just reached in his mouth and did it.  I watched him closely as he began to twist the tooth and his face became distorted with pain. He kept twisting and then SNAP it was out.

Nobody likes to see her kid writhing in anguish.  But I tell ya, it was an amazing thing to me to observe him push right through it, tears in his eyes, pale skin but not letting go.  Where did he get that strength?  How can he be so brave when he is so fearful?

I admire his pluck.


3 Responses

  1. Thanks for this lovely post. As a mother of a now grown (?) son, he’s 19, I can say I share your sentiments, especially during these past few months when he had to face some health issues. Yes, motherhood is for life, and I thank God for that privilege. Have a wonderful 2009!

  2. I like that he’s sensitive. He will be a better man because of it, if you ask me. And he is also determined when he puts his mind to it. I think you have a great kid there.



  3. Arti — sorry your son has had to deal with health issues. It’s hard to watch! I’m always in awe of mom’s whose kids have grown up so well — parenting is quite a challenge. 🙂

    KJ — yes, I agree that his sensitivity is a plus. It’s just hard sometimes to watch. 🙂 He IS a great kid! Thanks for stopping by, and happy new year.

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