Yesterday, my girl pushed the elevator button for the very first time – at 14. While that may seem like an insignificant event for some, for her it was an unconscious shift that speaks volumes.
For her entire lifetime, Mary Katherine has been terrified of elevators. Whether it was the feeling of movement between floors, the closed doors, the connection between elevators and her many, many trips to the doctor and hospital, I will never know. But for years, I held her in my arms every time we elevated until she was too big to hold. Then I bent down and held her close as we rode up or down. Just a few years ago, something shifted for her and she bravely decided to stand on her own.
Then, as now, I made very little to do over it, this mastery over her own fear. My attention to her accomplishment would have set her off, as if she knew her fears were irrational, and my bringing attention to them simply illuminated her inadequacy.
So yesterday when she walked up and pushed the button like she had been doing this all her life, I said nothing. I simply noticed, then sent up a prayer of appreciation that my little girl is overcoming, growing beyond her fears which have held her prisoner.
Pushing that button called the elevator. It summoned something she desires. She set it into motion. Maybe it’s silly you say, to make such a big deal over such a seemingly small thing as this. But my girl has lived in a world made small by fear, and fear is very personal. No amount of encouraging from me or anyone could affect her release of that fear. It had to come from her.
So that tiny button means great things to me, for her. Allowing her fears to dissolve creates a whole new space for her to expand into, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.