Max stood at the door to the classroom trembling.  It was early drop off, a ritual he normally tolerated reasonably well, but this time, it was different.  His early morning friends weren’t there, the teacher who normally welcomes him was out for the day.  And worse still, the only other person in the classroom was a boy who he didn’t know very well.  “He’s mean,” he whispered as the other boy, who clearly wasn’t a morning person, glared at us.  “Mama, I’m scared.”  From the shaking of his little 5 year old body, I knew this wasn’t just “end of the weekend” drama.  This was real.

I wanted to scoop him up in my arms, safe and sound, and run home to put on pajamas and read books under a blanket fort.  I wanted to rock him and sing to him.  But try as I might, I couldn’t quite figure out how to explain to my boss that I missed the sacred Monday morning meeting because we were terrorized by a stony faced preschooler.  I knew this was going to have to be a moment where we worked on facing fears.  “Max”, I said, “You are going to have to go in there.  I know it is scary, but you are very brave.”  “Mommy” he barely whispered, choking back the tears, “I can’t.  I am not brave.  I am really really really scared.”  I was desperate.  My boss is not a tolerant guy.  I asked the universe for help.

And then I surprised myself.  I got down eye to eye with him.  “Maxidoodle.  Do you know what it means to be brave?  Bravery is not about being fearless.  Being brave means you are really really scared and you try anyway.  You are my brave knight.  Sure you might be scared but you are going to go in there and try to play with that boy or maybe you will just play by yourself but you are going to have a great day.”  His grip on my hand loosened just a bit.  “Come on,” I said.  “I will go in with you.”  And together we walked through that door to face the day’s latest fears.  I had tears in my eyes as I left him there, not knowing what the next hour had in store for him.  Would he make friends with the new mean kid?  Would he be miserable?  The only thing I knew as I saw him wave good bye was that at that moment he defined bravery for me. 

A few weeks ago, my friend Jen, a soulful writer and illustrator of beautiful pictures opened a new door for me.  We were standing on the playground talking.  “You should blog,” she said.  “I think you would like it.” 

“Hmm…really.”  I said outloud. 

Inside I said, “You have got to be  crazy.  I am not a writer.  I can’t do that–I mean sure I would like to do something like that but really, come on–can’t you see…I am really really scared.”. 

At that exact moment I saw the bravest little boy I know flip off the monkey bars, fall on his rear and get up.  “Yikes,” he yelled to me.  “That was scary!”  But he was laughing, his eyes dancing with the excitement of flying.  I remembered our little chat about courage.

“Sign me up” I said, my own grip loosening. 

I am walking through this door.  Hello blog-land.  Here I am.

5 Responses to “On Being Brave”

  1. Evan Says:

    …Wow…
    You are a great writer… Looking forward to more entries! One of these days, try writing a story.

    btw, if you still need help with html, leave a comment!

    -esk

  2. Meg Says:

    Thanks Evan–and thanks for being the first commenter on the new and improved blog.
    Yes! I will surely need help with the programming end of this thing as I try to personalize it.
    I will be asking for you help for sure!

  3. Meg Casey » Small is Beautiful: Top 7 of ‘07 Says:

    […] On Being Brave […]

  4. Jen Ballantyne Says:

    Meg I don’t know how I missed this post, I am glad you responded to Magpie Girls request and I have had a chance to read it. I absolutely love it, I really thought I had read all your posts, nevertheless I have now and WOW! this one is something else…beautiful and I am so proud of Maxidoodle (and you for being able to let go) Love and Hugs Jen xxx

  5. You Can Be Brave in the Dark - Meg Casey Says:

    […] When I was a little girl I used to think brave people were people who didn’t feel fear. I know now that the brave ones are those who lean into their fear–feel it fully, let it wash over them and then get up and get moving. They feel the fear and […]