Six weeks ago, it began.
A slight obsession on the part of my boy to take me to Build-A-Bear for my 40th birthday.
There were reminder notes and caveats to bedtime prayers and even a scribbled add-on to our Summer Bucket list.
Now I would like to say I paid attention. Or that I asked him why. Or that I had mama intuition out the yin-yang.
But that would a big fat lie.
Instead, I discounted and pushed off and set aside and ignored. I was busy. I was tired. I was whatever I was at the moment.
And life just seemed bigger than my boy’s slight obsession.
Until one night when my eldest girl came into my bedroom, snuggled up to me and said, “Mom, do you know why he wants you to go to Build-A-Bear? He knows another surgery is coming up and he doesn’t want you to be alone at the hospital. He thought a bear with our kisses inside it would help you to be brave.”
My heart fell and my eyes filled with tears as I half-whispered, “Really???”
She nodded back and said, “I just thought you should know.”
So I brushed my tears away to resolution, one that was determined to find the greatest of bears so my boy knew I was cared for and loved while out of his reach.
The next day, he held my hand tightly as we entered the store, letting go only to grab the perfect bear and carry it around from station to station with his sisters in tow.
From kissing hearts to settling on an outfit to choosing a name, they went. All leading up to the moment he would say, “Meet Dr. Snuggles.”
It was not long after this introduction and our walk back to the car, I realized I was braver somehow.
Braver because a little boy had seen my hard and had determined to walk me through it. Braver even though I had discounted and pushed off and set aside and ignored. Braver because his love broke through the noise of a busy life—leaving me to remember that bravery is not a thing that comes from your own strength.
Bravery instead comes from the love that walks with you.
Be it from a Father who will carry you on the days you cannot carry yourself. Or a friend who shows up ready to join you in the messiest messes. Or a little boy whose heart only knows that a bear had once made him feel brave.
Love will shout and scribble and show up. If only to walk us all the way to the hard places we must go. Knowing that in the end, we will all be a little bit braver somehow.