good job being Careful

I’m always saying to Joe, good job being Careful! and I’m wondering how helpful that is. He’s always been a very cautious person, especially in doorways. He pauses and so gently steps between the bathroom floor and the bedroom, sliding his foot down one eighth of an inch. Where did this come from? Morrison and I definitely aren’t the kind of people that jump out of planes for fun, so it’s probably that. But also, way before he was even born, I was visiting my parents, and one normal Lake life morning, there were suddenly emergency boats buzzing by. It turned out that a 2 year old boy had gone missing. He was found dead in the water, and some part of my brain, the part that rehearses worst case scenarios to keep them at bay, thinks of this boy every day. A local article a few days later told the whole story, that he was a curious and unstoppable and brave kid, constantly trying things, and that his family had nicknamed him Danger. He had, in the early morning, gotten out of his crib, wandered all the way down to the water, and gone for a swim. Maybe Danger’s little life made us make Joe Careful. But I don’t want him to be so careful that he’s risk-averse. How do I keep him safe, but bold, but careful, but Brave? How do I be Brave in the untethering of him? Growing up I never wondered if I was Brave, I just was (or wasn’t.) I’m not physically Brave, but I will bear my gross and humiliating soul in front of strangers. Maybe we can steer him towards emotional bravery, BUT KEEP HIS PHYSICAL BODY SAFE AND ALIVE AND WELL, LITERALLY FOREVER.

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