Lupine started taking ariel silks this summer. And as a parent, it's hard to explain my experience watching her dangle from her ankle with no harness or safety rope a dozen or two feet off the ground.
I mean honestly. Think that through.
It's an exercise in trust.
Trust in the silk, trust in her teacher, trust in her abilities. Trust in her knowledge – after only a handful of classes – of how to wrap that gauzy strip of fabric so that it will hold her tight and keep her safe from the unforgiving tug of gravity.
Parenting is like that, isn't it? A life-long exercise in trust, in allowing, in letting go. In trying not to hold our breath as they venture further and further from the safety of our orbit.
So as I watch her hanging precariously by her ankle I whisper to myself, "She's fine. She's fine. She's fine."
It's my mantra every time she (or any of her friends) ascends the silk. I've been whispering it for years, any time either of my kids steps further from the safety of my arms and into their own wonderful and unscripted future.
And aside from my process watching her, what of her own experience up there on that silk?
What about learning the lesson, just before puberty – as a girl growing up in a culture that has managed to sexualize and objectify all that she may become – that strong is beautiful. That the latter can not truly exist without the former.
That their beauty is their strength. Be it physical, intellectual, creative, or emotional.
Because up on these silks? These girls are beautiful. They are inspiring! But their beauty is only an extension of how powerful and confident each of them truly is. No apologies, no passivity, no "I can't" – just a group of rough-and-tumble kids exploring their power as they grow into womanhood.
I mean truly – how beautiful is that?
And they climb and they soar and they learn to trust their bodies and themselves.
Beauty from their strength. Not the other way around.
What a powerful message for them at this age of between.
What a powerful message for us all.