I wish I could take this from you.
I wish I could fight this battle for you.
Spare you the pain.
Speed up the victory.
Your anxiety—the tears and big emotions you can’t yet comprehend—it hurts me, too. So much more than I can let you see.
I hate to see you struggle.
It’s the part of being a mother no one can prepare you for, I suppose. Helplessness is a uniquely human experience we must feel to understand, and when it involves your child, your baby . . .
It’s not something a parent can grasp until it’s there, crying in the seat beside you on a frigid Tuesday morning.
But son, even though I wish I could shoulder this for you, I want you to be sure of this: I will hold your hand through it.
I will hold space with you in the quiet morning when tears fall but you can’t say why.
I will help you count backward from 100 until your breathing steadies, willing each number to do its centering magic.
I will close my mouth and open my arms, not heap shame on your bowed head.
I will offer silent prayers—“Help him through this minute, this hour”—without end.
I will reach for your small hand with its nervously chewed nails and press strength and love into your palm, willing all of my own to flow into yours.
And then, when you climb out of the car and put one brave foot in front of the other again and again, I will let out my shaky breath, let my facade crumble.
Anxiety is hard. But, sweet child, you can do hard things—we both can—and we are.
I can’t take this for you, no matter how much I wish I could.
But I can help you realize the strength you already have, the resilience you will only compound. I can tell you it’s OK to feel this way, that growth is good, but often hard.
There are no shortcuts through anxiety, for you or for me.
But there is a road forward, and we’ll travel it together, hand-in-hand, for as long as it takes.
Originally published on Assignment: Mom