a letter to Rylie

Ry Girl,

I’ve been having trouble sleeping the past couple of nights… thinking and thinking and thinking. I thought I’d write some of it down and mail it to you to get it out of my head and into your hands where it belongs.

A couple of days ago you and I met a friend for dinner… a girls’ night out at Bombay and City Knitting. You chomped on naan (because it’s bread and all you eat is bread) and yelled at babies sitting across the way (GOOOOOOOOOK!!!). Near the end of our dinner, you were tired of your high chair confinement and begged to crawl along the booth. And you did great… until the very end where you stopped in the 2 inch space of no table and, of course, rolled off the bench and onto the concrete floor below.

The little man sitting at the next table jumped up in reflex to help you. I just sat there. I had something in my hand… and it all happened so fast that I was caught off guard. I said, She’s ok.” and the man withdrew, took his seat, and watched me as I slowly set down whatever I was holding and scooped you up.

A month ago you slipped on a booth at the Corner Bar and broke your gums wide open… and I smiled and picked you up and we danced in the bathroom for five minutes. We may need to stop with the booths, now that I think about it. A week ago, you swallowed a penny rather than open you mouth and give it back, and I smiled and shrugged and said, She’s ok.”

I think it comes from years and years of walking people through fear and insecurity and pure adrenaline on the ropes course. I have seen people on the brink of panic and have helped to bring them back to the reality of You’re ok. Look at me. You’re ok. Now, let’s figure out what’s going on.” There is a trigger in me that plays extremes. If someone is upset, I become extremely calm. It can be mistaken for aloofness or apathy or even disinterest… and I hate that.

Excuse me while I cry a little bit.

Baby, I want you to know that I hurt all over when you hurt. But I know, instinctively, that you are ok. I find myself saying that to myself before I jump in to rescue you. I am not ignoring you. I am not not loving you. And I am not not falling apart inside. I just have to remind myself… and you… that you are ok. And then we can deal with whatever.

I will be steady in your frustration. I will be slow in your panic. But, I want you to look at me and hear me when I say, You are ok.” and believe me… and then run to me so I can dance the pain away. It’s teeth and falling now, but it will be friends and boys and justice later… and what you feel- that searing pain or that awkward embarrassment or that terrible, terrible sadness inside- is very real. I know. I feel it, too. You come to me. And I will tell you (and me) that you are ok and then we will deal with it.

I cannot get that sweet man out of my head… him rushing to you and wondering what kind of parent I was to shush him away and pause. I get that, I really do. But I needed to calm myself first, remember that you were ok, and then deal. Please know that I’m just 2 seconds behind you… watching and steadying and cheering. And I love you very much. And I just wanted to explain all that.

And now I’m going to go clean up the frosted mini wheat you brought with you into your morning bath.



About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), 1 barn cat, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

13 responses to “a letter to Rylie

  • sunday

    can I print that letter for BellaRose and just change a few names and situations! That was amazing and it felt like you were speaking my heart. I feel like such a bad mom sometimes b/c I am not always there to catch her falls, or when she falls off the bed or falls out of the stroller, you know things like that, but I know she is okay. Boy thank you! you are amazing katie. You have such a way with words. Love you friend.

  • Jimmy

    As Sunday said what a way with the written word you have.

    Trust us when we who read this say that as Rylie gets older the calm and the knowing your love will be more important then the speed of movement to help.

    Rope courses, you have an interesting background. Army Ranger, Special Forces or SEAL? Next you will say you love to jump out of airplanes..

  • CortneyTree

    When Matt and I have a baby, will it be alright if I call you all the time so that you can tell me It’s Okay, too? Because, right now, us in charge of another human being is the scariest thing in the world to me. And because, when you say that, I *believe* it. That’s pretty special, my friend. Pretty special, indeed.

  • Wende

    Alrighty… so some words from further down the line.

    She’s not only OK, she’s got an amazing mom. Not sprinting to every hurt, not jumping to every bump is a TERRIFIC thing. You’re giving her coping skills that tell her she IS ok. Instead of teaching her the world is a frightening place, instead of teaching her every obstacle or set-back brings drama, instead of teaching her to cower in the corner… you’re giving her an amazing gift of independence.

    I suspect you know all this. And I also suspect that it does not alleviate the emotions that come with such an encounter. But just in case. . . YOU’RE OK KATE.

  • Jessica, Myron and Rylie

    tears brought to my eyes.
    So much truth in what you say. and now I will know I am not alone when I dont immediatly wash Rylie’s paci or let her eat dirt or rush to her when I see her run into the door cause she is to busy looking at the dog rather then where she was going. I will be reminded of your sweet words and how she is going to simply be ok.

  • Miss Laura

    Yes. Holla. Our fine little world has given us all the impression that we need to deodorize, sanitize, and safety-proof our child’s entire world. But what happens then? The kids don’t build up their own natural immunities to germs, they don’t learn not to climb on the roof of the neighbor’s shed…you are giving that girl resilience, and you are also not teaching her that she has the power to send you into a tizzy, which will prove increasingly useful the older she gets.

    I’m just sayin’…you’re not a helicopter, and that’s just fine. Rock on wit’ your bad self.

  • thekooiet

    Katie, this was just beautiful. Oh, my goodness I have tears reading this…lots of them.

    I’m not being a good mom tonight…I’ve got a headache from sing’n and I came home to two piles of dog puke and a pile of the other stuff. Maya and Zomer don’t like to go outside when it’s raining….and I’m taking it out on my kids.

    You remind me constantly to relax…they’re gonna be okay, and so am I.

  • Miss Christine

    That totally almost made me cry. You are such a great mom.

    -miss chris

  • Rachel

    That was awesome, Katie! You made me cry. You have such a way with words. I will probably need to refer back to this as Zane is just starting to move by rolling around until he runs into furniture. He bumped his head for the first time yesterday- just the beginning! Thanks for sharing your heart!

  • Anonymous

    i’m a stranger from blog-land but I just need to tell you that me and my mom needed to hear that today. See I’m 32 and going through a really rough time in life and she’s the one helping me through… I sent her this post because I want her to know that I know she’s hurting with me but I’m gonna be ok.

    thanks for sharing

  • KatieKate

    Well, stranger… I sure am glad you found this if if helped you any. If you were closer, I’d invite you in for a slice of apple pie and then we’d go play with the baby chicks. It doesn’t make your troubles go away, but it’s a nice detour for a bit.

    Blessings to you and thank you for saying hello…

  • Dan, Annie, Will and Mocha

    Seriously I want to steal this and give it to Will.
    You are so talented Katie, thank you for giving us all the privilege of reading these sweet words of yours to your daughter.
    I felt like I was reading someone’s diary, I loved it.

  • Grace

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing it!

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