To Be The Protector To His Adventurer

Lauren Dillard Toddlers & Pre-School

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It’s early, so early.

I roll over, stumble out of bed, dodging Legos and wooden trains I break into a light jog “Cyrus!” combining the urgency of a yell with the whisper of trying not to wake my other son.

“Cyrus! Don’t!”

But, Cyrus does. He always does.

I scoop his small pajama-clad frame into my tired arms, savoring his little embrace and cursing his adventurous nature. So much of me honors his curiosity, but not at 5 a.m.

Versions of this scene play out nearly every morning: me, running to put a stop to Cyrus’s new fascination with collecting toilet water, or me, devising an early morning plan to prevent him from parkouring his way up to the medicine cabinet.

Some mornings I’m dashing to prevent Cyrus from running into his brother’s room to place tiny wake-up punches upon his face; others, I am reaching to keep him from banging on a new xylophone and angering the neighbors. Each day, I spend a surprising amount of time keeping newly two-year-old Cyrus happy and safe while he exercises his young right to curiosity.

I have a constant stream of internal debates on maternal decisions going on in my mind at all times, and today is no different. I wonder if baby gates will keep him out of trouble or if he will get hurt even worse when he inevitably tries to climb over them. I question if he will ever be allowed in the kitchen, he has a special knack for tracking down sharp objects.

Then there is the continuous calculation of how far I can safely let him go. A mathematical equation based on how fast he can run versus how fast I can run, all in relation to his proximity to the danger to which he is so sincerely attracted. Then you must add my need to allow him the freedom to be his own person.

I question and calculate and I try to remember not to feel guilty and defeated as he shrieks and cries when I remove the hazard of any given moment, and replace it with safety.


Hours after my day began with chasing him, we head out for some fresh air with friends. The kids traipse through the forest observing the world around them, embracing the nature and fresh air. Occasionally, the 6 of them go a little off course, but not one of them veers as much as Cyrus.

As his friends enjoy crossing tree trunk bridges over a small dry creek, Cyrus steadily makes his way down into the creek way and up the other side. I watch as his curly, black hair bounces with each determined step. In his small and mighty haste, he is out of the woods and headed straight for the nearby road in a flash.

I run up beside him, and as I feel the warmth of his small hand safely in mind, I breathe a familiar sigh of relief.

Thankfully, I’d done my calculations correctly and I was close enough to guide him away from harm. Again.

There is an innate beauty in the inquiring mind of my child: the wonder in his eyes, his joy in experiencing something new. I feel a sense of sincere gratitude when I get  to see even the most mundane things through the eyes of a Cyrus.

But, then, there is the stress.

The pressure.

The overwhelming drive to keep him safe. To be his protector.

To save him from the dangers he doesn’t know exist.

Mothering Cyrus means that from the time he wakes (before dawn) until the time his sweet little eyes close snuggled next to me at night, I am considering, calculating, and deciding.

In my journey as mother to this son, there is a powerful, ever-challenging lesson of understanding and acceptance. I learn a little more every day about how to allow and encourage Cyrus to be the inquisitive and daring yang to my loving and protective yin.



About the Author

Lauren Dillard

Lauren Dillard is the creator of , a website dedicated to sharing personal stories and advocating for intentional living. She also enjoys writing emotional essays about uncomfortable subjects, pretending to be a minimalist, and being an adventurous home cook. Lauren’s two kids are the light of her life and the reason she needs massive amounts of caffeine.

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