When the Can’t Creeps In

Dear Evan,

When you were younger you were full of spunk, of sass, and above all confidence. You didn’t just think you could, but you KNEW you could drive a car, start school earlier, and cook us dinner if we would only let you try. You still have just as much spunk and sass but lately I’ve noticed your confidence slowly diminishing as the “can’t” creeps in.

I notice them continually creeping in when you try to ride your bike. For some reasons bikes have been hard for you, and you still haven’t mastered it without training wheels. It isn’t for lack of effort or even attitude. You have given it your all time and time again and you have come so close that I thought my heart would stop with anticipation. “I am just not good at this”, you sob through tears. The can’t  got in your head and made you believe you’re incapable, just because it is hard.

Then you were practicing for your concert. Admittedly I have laughed behind your back about your slightly off-key renditions and mistaken song lyrics, but I tell you there is nothing I would rather hear than the sound of your voice and that is the absolute truth. Off-key, wrong lyrics, blaring loud, it still sounds like joy to me. Yet when you were practicing I heard you mutter “I shouldn’t really be singing since I’m not very good at it.” The can’t  got to you again.

Finally, last night when I brushed your hair from your cheek and told you how beautiful you are and without missing a beat you said wide-eyed with terror “I think that I’m really ugly.” Those can’ts knocked the wind out of me. I don’t know how they got in your head so early, but I know that I would do anything to get them out.

There will be many can’t s that you will have to deal with in life. I still struggle with them every single day. I can’t write a book. I can’t be a good parent. I can’t be as gracious to Mike as he deserves. Can’t. Can’t. Can’t.

But I am. All of those things. That is just the can’t  talking. When they come to you again, I hope you will remember these words.

When the can’t comes in you must close your eyes,

Weigh each can’t for a moment, then push it aside.

When the can’t comes in don’t turn and run away.

Examine each one,  but don’t let them stay.

When the can’t comes in think of all that you’ve done,

The person you are and where you came from.

When the can’t comes in there is something you can do.

Hold tight to this Evan, I have always believed in you.


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