Picture it: Beaumont, Texas. 1999.
Adrian and I are standing in line in a local 50-year-old bakery and we see a little two-year-old girl dawdling around her mother’s feet. We always admire little girls and smile warmly at each other because we wholly believe that one day we’ll have one of our own. (Ongoing debate.)
Suddenly, the little girl takes a tumble. She trips over her own two feet and lands squarely on her bottom. She scans the room for her mother’s eyes and, when she catches them, her mother holds her gaze steadily.
After a beat, the young mother says in a most matter-of-fact tone: “Bounce up!”
Adrian and I raise our eyebrows in surprise and can’t help but smile at the perfection of that phrase. The little girl blinks her eyes and scrambles to her feet.
In that moment, we didn’t quite know it yet, but we learned one of the single most important tenets of life: If you fall down, assume you are just fine, dust off your ass and get right back up on your feet.
Even then, we knew instinctively that it was one of those kernels of wisdom to hold onto.
Since then, we’ve said it to each other countless times. Forget to pay a bill? Bounce up. Fight with a favorite friend? Bounce up. Lose your job? Bounce up. No, seriously, I just lost my job. No, seriously. Dude, bounce up.
And then we got pregnant. A whole decade later…
Wouldn’t you know it? That moment in the bakery with the wobbly toddler has been nothing short of a daily occurrence for the last five years. Except now it’s our own flesh and blood scanning the scene for our reaction.
Will we meet them with panic and fear and confirm their worst nightmare or will we hold steady, stay calm and offer two perfect words of wisdom: “Bounce up.”
Fall off your bike at top speed? Bounce up. Get hip-checked at soccer practice? Bounce up. Make a crappy cardboard slide out of an oversized Amazon box on the hardwood steps and take a header off the side? Bounce right on up. Your resourcefulness did not go unnoticed. Thank you for trying.
It’s even more powerful if there’s shame or embarrassment attached. This phrase somehow grants it’s recipient the permission to let all that go and get on with life.
All this to say, these two little words have saved us innumerable tears. I would argue they make boo-boos smaller and heartaches heal faster. This phrase has turned self-loathing into self-loving in nothing short of an instant. It’s a building block of confidence and resilience. It’s like turning the frown upside down.
It’s not a fall. It’s a bounce.
See what I’m saying?
Imagine how good life can be when you’re on your way back up the very second you hit the ground.