LSS: Ten fe

Her response to my concerns, complaining and consternation was short and to the point.
I was chatting online with Mila, my husband’s cousin in Mexico. She had been a good listener as I went on about my general worries of parenthood.
If you’re a parent, you know the ones I’m talking about.
The ones that can best be summed up in the single question: “Will she be OK?”
In the big picture?
The really big picture?
Mila and I were chatting in English, because chatting in Spanish doesn’t come naturally to me. My Spanish tends to stick to the basics and likely sounds like the equivalent of a caveman to native speakers. Plus, chatting in English doesn’t make my head hurt. Mila asked me to elaborate on my concerns — and I was all too happy to respond. When I finally took a break, Mila typed her message to me.
“Ten fe, Jan,” she wrote.
No one had ever said that to me in Spanish, and it really caught me off guard. For some reason, the first thing I thought of was iron — as in fe, the element on the periodic table.
I looked at her words.
“Ten fe.”
She then typed, “Do you know what that means?”
And a sort of peace came over me. Mila is a wise woman. Of course, I knew what that meant.
Intellectually, at least.
“Have faith?” I asked.
“Yes, Jan. Ten fe.”
And I took a deep breath.
By nature, I am not a worrier. I tend to look for and expect the best. I don’t sweat the small stuff. However, when it comes to my daughters and the big picture of their lives…well, that’s a different story. I had gotten to a place that I felt a certain degree of righteousness in my concern. I needed to worry. I needed to do something.
In reality, what I needed to do is take Mila’s advice and ten fe. Don’t get me wrong, I know as a mom I need to support my daughters, be there for them, provide the best example I’m able to provide.
But am I supposed to worry about them and their future — next week, next year, when they graduate high school, when they go to college, where they go to college, what they study, if they study, if they graduate, what they do then, etc. etc. etc.?
No, I’m not supposed to worry.
I’m supposed to ten fe (or tener fe, as I suppose it would be grammatically.)
Sometimes the hardest thing to do as a parent is — nothing. Let them work it out. Let them figure it out. Let them bail themselves out. Let them wait it out. Let them make the mistakes.
And that’s how they learn, isn’t it?
They don’t learn from our worrying, concerns, complaining or consternation. They don’t do anything except get frustrated with us over that negative energy that we’re giving off. They learn from our strength.
Strength like iron.
Ten fe.

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