Kareesa’s jaw dropped as she listened. She could not believe what she was hearing. As a mother herself, she could not stomach the implications of it. This wasn’t right.
What kind of a mother behaved like this? Kareesa actually began to feel afraid for the little boy. Kareesa wondered if he was even safe with Andy? What kind of mom was she really?
Kareesa Johnson had faced an uphill battle to make her biggest dream come true. Every step of the way there seemed to be some obstacle or another.
Each time she entered Dr. Lehman’s office, Kareesa felt another surge of panic. She could no longer take the disappointment. As she faced the doctor now, her heart was racing with fear.
After months and months of hospitals, blood tests, diets, and every specialist under the sun, Kareesa had begun to wonder if she should give up. She couldn’t face the disappointment on Anthony’s face each time the news was bad.
This time she was more nervous than ever. Although she had kept it to herself, this time she knew that if things didn’t work out, it was going to be the last time she ever tried.
Her legs were shaking under the table with anticipation. Anthony squeezed her hand, the light force he inadvertently applied letting her know that he was just as nervous about it as she was.
Dr. Lehman wore a poker face and as she spoke, her face suddenly broke out into a broad smile. Finally, the words Kareesa had longed to hear were uttered. “You’re pregnant.”
After all the years of trying to conceive naturally and then trying round after round of specialists and fertility clinics, Kareesa had honestly begun to give up hope of ever being a mom.
As the months passed and her belly swelled with her baby, so to did her heart with pride and happiness. This really was their last chance at this, which also brought up a new set of fears.
The day finally came. Kareesa Johnson was a mom at last! Kareesa knew what a physical and mental toll pregnancy and birth could take on a new mother. She wasn’t prepared for how much worse this toll was on a mother that had spent years just trying to conceive at all.
The moment Kareesa laid eyes on her daughter, she knew she would love her more than anything else in the world. She also knew, she would always be anxious and afraid now.
As little Casey Johnson grew, Kareesa traded pregnancy books for childhood development and psychology titles. Kareesa did her best to keep Casey wrapped in a bubble of joy, happiness, and safety.
Casey was growing up to be as beautiful, kind, caring, and compassionate as any other could ever want their child to be, or so Kareesa thought; until she met her.
Over time, Kareesa had become part of an unofficial “parent club”. A local park in Washington state was a popular spot for young mothers and their kids. Kareesa knew many of the other moms there and regularly swapped stories and mom tips with them.
The other moms all seemed to be like her. However, when “Andy” showed up one day, Kareesa could sense from the beginning that this mom was different.
From day one, Andy and her son Troy never seemed to quite fit in at the park. Unlike them, the other moms described Andy as less “tender”.
Not only was she prone to telling Troy things like “walk it off” if he fell or got hurt, she never seemed to be as encouraging or sympathetic to her boy as most moms were to their kids at that age.
The other parents stuck to their cliques and seemed to keep away from Andy. It wasn’t out of any malice or nastiness that they excluded her. Andy seemed to prefer it that way.
Although she smiled and was perfectly friendly, she never made any special effort to be friends with the other moms. Then one day, Andy’s odd parenting clashed drastically with everything Kareesa had ever believed about nurturing a child.
It all happened when Casey was playing near the jungle gym and Troy was nearby. Casey loved action figures. When she noticed Troy playing near the sandpits with some cool ones, she politely asked if she could play with him.
Troy turned to his mother. To Kareesa’s horror, Andy told him, “You don’t have to share if you don’t want to.” Kareesa was flawed by this and could not understand why any mother would say that to their child?
This little episode had caused quite a stir among the other moms. Kareesa rushed over to comfort Casey who was not accustomed to rudely being told, “I don’t want to share my toys with you.”
Casey politely confronted Andy about this while the other moms all listened in too. To her surprise, Andy defended her position and said she deliberately raised Troy this way. According to her, it was “to teach him healthy boundaries.”
Andy and Troy slowly became more excluded from the park. While all the other kids played together and their moms chatted, Troy played by himself while Andy sat alone reading. Neither she nor Troy seemed to mind the isolation but Kareesa felt a little guilty.
Kareesa had been reading a child psychology book by an author named Andrita Davies. Surprisingly, the author actually advocated for a parenting style like Andy’s and made compelling arguments for why it was healthier for kids to be raised this way.
Kareesa began to see a lot of wisdom in how Andy raised Troy. As she watched the little boy, she realized that while most kids were very clingy, easily hurt, and driven to emotional outbursts, Troy was different.
Even at 5 years old, he was fiercely independent, confident, mature, and just as comfortable socializing, as he was all by himself. Realizing she may have been too judgmental, Kareesa decided to get to know Andy a little.
Andy actually had some fascinating and brilliant insights on how kids developed better confidence, independence, and emotional endurance when they learned to set healthy boundaries from a young age.
Noticing Kareesa’s book, Andy laughed and explained further. It turned out that her full name was “Andrita Davies”. “Andy” was actually a doctor of psychology and a celebrated author, specializing in early childhood development. Understanding each other better now, the two moms remained close friends ever since.