“When I’m not afraid to fail, I won’t. When I’m not afraid to fall down, falling down won’t feel like failure. I have fallen down enough to get more comfortable with it, to know how productive it can be, how necessary it is to growth. Still, when I sense the ground beneath me giving way, I have to remind myself that it’s ok if I falter. I have to remind myself that it’s more than ok!” ~ Jan Denise
My dearest E.,
I suppose it had to come sooner or later. Last Saturday, you fell off the bed in my friend’s house, your beloved Uncle Calvin who loves and nurtures you like his own. We’d been to his house many times, and you would always sleep peacefully like a little cherub in his soft comfy bed. That night was no different, and after you had gone to sleep, we proceeded to the living room to watch TV. We were frighteningly interrupted when we heard a monstrous loud thud and then your screams and cries filled the air. Rushing to his bedroom, we found you hanging halfway down the bed- thankfully, you didn’t fall to the floor, but was hindered by the wide bed slats on the sides (a Japanese styled-bed it was). Unfortunately, you did hit your head on those slats.
Last night, you spent the night with your grandparents, who, this morning, informed me that you had refused to sleep and woke up crying several times in the night, suspectedly searching for me or your father. They had allowed you to run around the room to frolic- but alas! You had a little fall, and cut your lip and bruised your eye. You poor dear!
I blame myself incessantly for allowing this to happen to you. I cannot describe to you the guilt I felt simmering within me, imagining the “What ifs” and wishing that I had done better to protect you. Other parents offered me sympathetic advice, telling me a child falling down and hurting himself/herself would be inevitable, and was part and parcel of a normal childhood, and in fact, teaches both child and parents to become better people by nurturing their instincts for survival.
So, my dearest, although I find this hard to stomach, let us take this as a learning experience. And I promise that I will be more careful and alert in future to ensure that you do not hurt yourself in this manner anymore. However, I cannot protect you from the symbolic falling downs in your life to come, but I can offer you some advice in that area.
When you fall in life, whether from a relationship break-up or a difficult, testing job, remember that you should pick yourself up and carry on. Imagine falling into a deep pit. Claw and climb your way out if you must, and if you need help, never falter or hesitate to cry or ask for help. I, for one, will be there to take your hand and pull you up to safe ground, but you must cultivate that need to succeed, to rise once again and to never let deterrents in life bring you down.
I have fallen many times in life, my sweet. Sometimes, I was so depressed and thought myself a failure, that I could barely think of picking myself up. Most times, though, I did, because I felt that I was placed here for a universal purpose, together with all other human beings on our earth. And that if I did not pick myself up, I would then be a complete failure. I also had belief in my parents, who lent me their hands throughout. Remember that this is what parents do- this is what parents WANT to do. To make sure that you do not fail. And even if you do fail, that you will continue to persevere.
Failure is NOT falling down and facing your difficulties and crying or wallowing- failure is when you allow hope and faith to diminish in your heart, when you no longer wish to fight back, when you cannot bring yourself to pick up from where you left off, when you no longer wish or desire to succeed in what you do.
I know that you will not fail, though. And even if you do, you will rise like the phoenix to overcome your fears and that failure, and that makes you stronger, a hero. And even if you do, that is completely ok with me, because you will learn from that experience and become a more complete person.
You are my daughter. And you can do anything you set out to do, be anything you want to be. Because you have love, faith and hope as your guiding pillars of strength.