We found ourselves deep in the woods, following an old trail. Through evergreen trees, just bloomed trillium flowers were signaling the arrival of springtime.
Your dad was leading the way, finding the best path forward. I trailed closely behind you, closing our pack of three. He joked we were going on a bear hunt, just like your favorite storybook.
The forest was quiet. We heard our heavy breaths as we traveled uphill. We heard the crunching of branches under our feet. We heard the occasional bird sing and we watched as the sun fought its way through the treetops to shine on our shoulders. We felt the warmth.
And then I heard you.
“You’re so brave, Elsie. Elsie, you’re so brave.”
You were just thinking, out loud. Your inner voice apparent.
“You’ve got this. You can do this all by yourself, Elsie.”
Your hot pink, sparkly light-up rain boots crossed over puddles and through old ferns. My heart swelled.
You believe in yourself. When I tell you how strong you are and how brave you are, you listened. That power is part of you.
I just need to capture this moment. I need to remember forever and frankly, I need to harness that kind of power sometimes too.
We focus so much about the importance and the necessity of positive self-talk. And through hearing those words flow so freely from your little body, I learned something else—you taught me something really big in that moment, deep in the woods—that hearing others be kind to themselves inspires kindness everywhere.
Days later, in the car on the way to swimming lessons, I told you that I thought you were so brave. And that if you got scared, just remember how brave you are.
Without hesitation, you replied.
Knowing you believe in yourself helps me believe in me. It helps me believe in others, and it makes me want to believe in you even more, if that would even be possible but it isn’t because girl, you’ve got this. And I’ve got your back. And I’ve got me too.
This post originally appeared on Life at Lancaster Land. It has been reprinted with permission.