K and I went rock climbing last week. It didn’t start as rock climbing. It started as a clear and warm Thursday. We packed up a picnic lunch and headed to a local lake, where we moved from the playground to the duck feeding to a hilltop resting spot where we watched funnily smeared clouds float over our heads. Then we returned to the playground, but instead of playing, K began to climb across a series of rocks ringing the edge. These were big rocks, rocks with uneven surfaces and slippery slopes and a few very pointy tops.
The dirt around them was lava. We became adventurers. We must have spent an hour moving over those rocks, one by one, working our way from one end to the other. It took me a while to warm up to it. They were uneven, and slippery, and I’m just not a very coordinated or daring person. She climbed with impressive confidence, while I would size them up from every angle, equally unconfident.
“Come this way!” And she launched herself from a particularly pointed one toward the far end onto a flatter one on the other side.
I stared at that rock, the surface so not calling to my feet. It was too small, too sharp. “Oh, I don’t think I can.”
“You can!” she said with a little laugh. As though Mama was being silly. Of course, considering my size and the fact these were still playground boulders, I most certainly was. Even I could sense that.
I stepped. I steadied. I stood. I pumped my arms over my head to her giggles. This is the difference between she and I: I see can’t, she sees can. I see roadblocks, she sees stepping stones. I love what she sees, as I love her. I want to see as she sees, not just because it was so empowering and beautiful, but also because I would never want her to trade that for my view instead.