Six weeks ago, I surprised my three-year-old with a trip to his favorite Brooklyn playground in the early hours before my work day began. A somewhat routine itinerary pre-COVID, this trip had now become something sacred, mainly due to the fact that after 13 years as New Yorkers, my husband and I temporarily uprooted our family for close to 14 months while we rode the pandemic out.
Now, we were back, which meant this trip to the park was a non-ceremonial homecoming. Except for one problem: My formerly city-loving child was scared.
Of what exactly? Mostly, the loud noises and the hustle and bustle and over-stimulation of city life, a massive contrast to spending the past one third of his life in an area so calm and quiet, you could identify birds by their calls. (Not kidding, he’s a bit of an expert now.) On this particular morning, only a few days after our move back, a truck made a loud bang—the exhaust pipe, I’m guessing—and my son freaked. I went into full-blown mama mode: “It’s OK! That was just a loud noise and it surprised us.” His reply? “Mama is so brave.”
His remark stopped me in my tracks. First of all, I had no idea that, at three and a half, he was capable of using that word in a sentence, let alone assigning the correct meaning to it. But the other reason tugged at my heart: I would never identify as brave.