i pretty brave.

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All the New. (This, 3 blocks from our house. It ain’t all bad).

I’m drowning in newness right now.

New house, new grocery store, new church, new neighbors.  New Target, new freeways, new gas stations, new views.  New Starbucks, new Peet’s, and even a new Philz Coffee set to open at the end of the month, a mere 4.4 miles away.

There’s a whole lot of new in our lives right now, and it can be overwhelming.  It can make me feel like I’m barely staying afloat because everything I’ve known – from shortcuts to street names, from barista faces to checker faces to neighbor faces – has been erased.  I’m living in an Etch-a-Sketch world of my own doing.  

At home, we unearth one box at a time, hoping that with possessions in place we’ll somehow feel more grounded ourselves.  But still, I can’t find the coffee beans.  Still, I wear swim suit bottoms as underwear because I’m not exactly sure what box my unmentionables reside in.  Still, the pain of newness remains.

But then, me and the boys, we lather on the sunblock and we go on a walk.  I hitch Frodo to my chest, and Cancan makes do in the Bob, perched on the front or nestled in the back, watermelon juice dripping down his chin.

“New park, Mama?  New park?”

“Yeah, buddy, we’re going to a new park,” because everything is tinged with the colors of New right now.

When we get to New Park, Cancan becomes a more timid version of himself. He surveys the scene, checking out the equipment, looking around for a pint-sized person his age to race down the slide beside.  This morning he wasn’t too keen on the slides, he just wanted to go higher! higher! on the swings.

So we did.

I pushed him, as he begged for higher, as his giggles skyward bounced from him to Frodo to Mama.  And then, he said it:

“I pretty brave, Mama.  I pretty brave.” 

“Yeah, you are, buddy.  You’re pretty brave.”

Because he’s brave with the New Park and and he’s brave with the New Swing.  He’s brave as he shouts to go higher! higher!, and he’s brave with All This Change.

A few minutes into Bravery, a little girl a year or so older than him, came up to us.  She hoisted herself up on the swing, and turning her face toward my son, she yelled out her name.  Cancan looked at me, and he looked at her, and then he bellowed skyward again:

I’M CANCAN!!!!  

I don’t think she could actually understand his gleeful yell, but that didn’t matter: she smiled and gave him a thumb’s up before jumping off the swing and bounding toward the climbing wall.

And my little buddy looked at me again, and said those same words again:

“I pretty brave, Mama.  I pretty brave.”

Yes you are, buddy. Yes you are

And I melted, right then and there.

Because friends, moving is hard.  All this Newness, as you may well have guessed by now, is hard.  But me and Cancan, Frodo and the HBH, we’re practicing bravery.

We’re learning what it means to be pretty brave, even in and with and by All the New. We’re learning that it’s okay if things are a little scary, and it’s okay if we don’t all the way feel like we belong.  But still, we can be pretty brave.  We do things we never thought we’d be able to do, as we beg to go higher and yell out our names to all our new friends.

Because at the end of the day, we’ve got each other.  We’ve been given Life back, because we can be together as a family again.  So we cling and we hold tight to each other.

We practice being pretty brave together.

So, what about you?  How are you practicing being pretty brave?  How can I cheer on bravery in your life?

18 thoughts on “i pretty brave.

  1. Oh, I feel you, sister. “I pretty brave” these days because deployment is forcing it on me. Parenting alone, flying alone with a toddler, making all the day-to-day decisions alone, renting a house alone, packing up the house and moving to the new city alone. Thank you for this post and reminding me that we all are doing brave things. Hope that my toddler is just as brave as your toddler when we move!

    1. Callie, a prayer for you: God, would you show Callie that you are with her right now? Would you give her courage and bravery as she parents alone and flies alone with a toddler, as she makes decisions both big and small picture, and packs up and moves. Would you show her that you are with her? Amen. (cheering you on!)

  2. Oh my goodness. We are about to embark on all of this braveness. We have a buyer for our house which means moving day is around the corner. We are moving to our old state. But everything will be new and it is requiring all kinds of brave for me and my kids who go back and forth between excited to go to mourning the losses that haven’t happened yet. Thanks for writing.

    1. Leah, I think you nailed it: there’s an element of mourning and loss I always forget exists, even if and though I’ve moved rather regularly the past twenty years. Even if I’m excited and even if this is right, it’s hard to say good-bye and witness a death of sorts, to the life you once knew. In this with you.

  3. I feel ya! Way to go to your whole family! In it with you! And – I can’t believe Cancan even know the word, ‘brave’ and can make a sort-of sentence with it!!!

    1. In this with you, for sure. And today Cancan wasn’t brave but strong. “I pretty strong, Mama,” he said, upon lifting two whole books at one time. 😉

  4. Change can take a lot of bravery, Cara. I pray God supplies you all with plenty of courage as you settle in to your new home and neighborhood.

    By the way, I was just at the original Peet’s in Berkeley yesterday. It’s only a block from The Cheeseboard, so of course I had to stop in for a double espresso as long as I was in the area.

    1. Change CAN take a whole lot of bravery. Thanks for prayers and wishes of courage! And you poor thing: the original Peet’s and a visit to The Cheeseboard? How did you ever survive?!

  5. Having moved recently and experiencing everything NEW – I relate! I find it even more challenging now in my empty nest than I did when we moved when my kids were young. So thankful that God is with me through the ups and downs of it all! Keep being brave!

  6. Hi Cara, Keeping you and the family in my prayers as you settle in. I remember when my family moved from Sacramento to Oakland my sophomore year of high school. Wasn’t easy, yet God was faithful. He provided some special friendships, some I have to this day. I am willing to come over and hang out with you if you desire. Hugs, Shireen

    1. Oh, thank you for your kind words, my friend! I’m sorry I missed your book launch party as well …it’s been a little crazy, as you can well imagine (but day by day, maybe just maybe getting better). And of course I’d love to see you! I’ll email you!

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