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Last night I laid with my ten-year-old until the wee hours of the morning.

Hubby and I went upstairs to bed at midnight, only to find she was a mess of tears. I laid and watched her sweet ten-year-old hands pick and worry at her favorite blanket in the nightlight glow.

She talked of how sad she is to leave and how all the amazing things will happen at dance that she could have been a part of.

We laid on the half-deflated air mattress, and we both cried.

I cried because even though I know she will find her place once we move, it doesn’t make it any easier to leave. I cried because as a mom there was nothing I could do to make her feel better. No words can fix this, so I just cried with her. I cried because I had no answers.

She cried because her small world is ending.

We laid there until well past one a.m., and I watched her little furrowed brow as she slept. I watched the nightlight change the color of her face over and over again. Red. Green. Pink. Purple. Blue. On repeat.

I wondered to myself; how can people say that kids are resilient? Surely those people have never held their ten-year-old’s hand for an hour as they cry themself to sleep.

Will she find her place in the world once we move? Of course, she will.

Will she make new friends, learn new dances, and love her new dance home? I know she will.

Will she continue to be the happy, carefree, wild-spirited and kind child that she has been the last ten years? Without a doubt.

But don’t call her resilient.

Call her determined. Call her brave. Call her persistent, but not resilient.

The word resilient when applied to children seems to imply that kids just automatically adapt to whatever life throws at them. I disagree.

I’ve spent a lot of time with children, both my own and others’ children, and I assure you that I’ve never described them as resilient. Resiliency implies that kids are like rubber bands. It implies that once stretched to its limits, it automatically returns to its prior state. Kids don’t just “bounce back” without effort. Kids don’t just “adapt” to their world being turned upside down. Just like adults, they have to WORK at it.

My daughter is battling a war in her head that has been going on for months.

She’s not resilient; she’s a warrior.

She’s fierce and loving and loyal. She’s heartbroken and sad and upset. She’s trusting and honest and understanding. She works hard for those traits; they don’t just “happen” to her.

She is not resilient.

I know that she will continue to dance once we move. I know she will learn to love new teachers and make new friends. I know she will be alright. However, she will be alright because she will win the war in her head through effort and perseverance and optimism.

Resilient? No. A fighter? Absolutely.

I love this girl more than life itself, and I will give her the credit she deserves. My daughter, the warrior. She will change the world just by being in it, and I’ll sit back, watch in awe, and continue to hold her hand when she cries.

Watch out world, because this one won’t back down without a fight.

Be grateful (for children warriors), water your own grass,

…and drink coffee.

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