A Lesson in Determination

One of the things that I love about motherhood are the times when my children either teach me something, or provide me with an example that I really need at a particular time in my life. When embarking on this parenting journey, that was the one thing that I hadn’t really expected…but now that I’ve experienced it, more than once, I’ve realized that these lessons are among the most valuable that I have learned in my life.

One thing that my exhusband and I wanted for our two children was for there to not be any sense of competition between the two. We’ve always worked to ensure that things were as fair as possible between the two girls. I try, in particular, to celebrate their individuality and their own special talents, so that they know that they don’t have to be same and compete with one another in anything.

My two girls are very different creatures. Kiddo, the oldest, is very charming and personable. I feel like she’s going to go far in life based on personality alone. People gravitate toward her. She is mature, well-spoken and intelligent, and in particular enjoys engaging adults in conversation. I’ve often had people remark to me that she seems much older than she actually is.

Little Mo, on the other hand, is also intelligent and well-spoken, but more in a “typical four year old” kind of way. She is sweet and funny and quirky. One of her special talents that she possesses is pure determination. When she turns on that determination, it is nothing like I’ve ever seen in a child. Little Mo learned how to walk before she was eight months old. At 7 1/2 months, she simply stood up in the middle of the floor, unaided, and began taking her first steps, much to everyone’s utter astonishment. I had no idea that babies walked that young. I am firmly convinced that she saw her  older sister walking around, and simply decided that there was no way that she was going to be left behind. It was amazing watching her determination as she kept picking herself up every time she fell down – over and over again – until she finally perfected it. She was running around in the house in full-on sprints by the time she was 10 months old, much to her own delight.

I witnessed her determination again the other weekend when I took the girls to the local pool. Little Mo decided that she wanted to learn to swim. We took off her floatation device and she went for it. She barely got her feet off the bottom of the pool when she sucked in some water. I grabbed her up quickly. She spit out water, coughed, belched, rubbed her nose and looked at me. “Again.” she said.

Four more times the scene repeated itself. Each time she got a little bit further before sucking in too much water to continue. By the time she decided that she’d had enough, she’d made it about four feet before requiring rescuing.

I hugged and kissed her, praising her like crazy.

“I’m learning how to swim!” She declared, with a gleam in her eye that told me that really, my praise wasn’t necessary. It didn’t matter to her one bit that she hadn’t made a whole lot of progress on her first day of trying. She was getting there – and she was getting there all on her own, and she was doing it all for herself.

Like my older daughter, I’m a people pleaser at heart. To a fault, really, where there have been times when I’ve completely sacrificed myself for other people. It’s good to see my four year old showing such determination to do something – not because it’s what I, or anyone else wants her to do, but because it’s what’s SHE wants to do.

Just another gift, in the form of a life lesson, given to me by my girls. This mommy gig really does rock some days.

8 Responses

  1. Just dropping by to say hello. Your girls sound like sweethearts. You’re a terrific mom!

  2. Thats a great story. Interesting, being a parent of only one, to hear the differences in the two.

  3. I love this post. You are a great mommy with two wonderful girls.


    I read this one though, and I’ll tell you what. Remember the words of Aristotle my friend, who said this:

    Mothers are fonder than fathers of their children because they are more certain they are their own.


  5. Sounds just like my two girls. 🙂

    Walking at 7 1/2 months though?!? WOW!

    And funny enough, can’t you see yourself in both of them?

  6. There is a lot of you in both of them. You’re all wonderful, the 3 of you girls!

  7. I love this. it is the essence of what really matters and isn’t it strange, to have days that are SO hard and out of wack and then really great days where we really feel the strength and power of all the goodness? (that would be mine today too, must be where the moon is)

  8. Great story! Kids accomplishments are fun to witness.

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