Mothering has taught me so much about strength. It meant having several miscarriages, and still having the courage to try again. It means returning to a place of not knowing, brought to my knees by tantrums or crying or relentless neediness. It brings me to a place of overflowing love and unimagined joy. I adore being  mama— the person who lights up my child’s face.

Most recently, however, I have been getting several lessons in strength from my daughter Oriah.  She will carry a heavy bucket–or actually drag it behind her—steadfastly refusing help.

In the last week she has taken on striding–riding a bike that has no pedals–and has become amazingly adept at it. Still, she falls frequently, and I offer her help, such as steadying the bike as she mounts, but she is determined to go it alone.  Or when I can see she is tired, I offer her the stroller, but she is one determined toddler. She has endless energy for cutting her own path through the world.

I love how she falls, without much fuss, and sturdily returns to the bike. Falling off just means another chance to get back on and try again.

Nothing crushes her spirit but the word “no.” She is all heart—and mischief. She leaps without looking, jumps pluckily off rocks just to feel her weight hit the ground. Resolute, curious, unfazed, she is my wild divine.

Her strength gives me the courage to pick myself up and dust myself off, to remember the gifts the struggle unveils.

What is mothering teaching you about strength? How are you strong in ways you didn’t know?