Tensions are high in our nation. There are so many sides to every story, so many people who have been hurt and are being hurt. With the upcoming election, emotions come bubbling to the surface with every Facebook post, every new news story. We strive for honest, authentic motherhood here, and there's nothing quite like motherhood to make each news story affect you in a very personal, real way. Today, Kathleen shares her own very real, very raw thoughts on raising children in this generation. We hope that her words are an encouragement.
“Things are not getting worse, they are just getting uncovered. We must hold each other tight and continue to pull back the veil.”
-an excerpt from “Why Choose Justice“
Maybe it's because I haven't left the house in days. Maybe it's because of the wine. Maybe it's because I was lying next to my little girl, who does not yet know that there is a world outside of this sweet, dependable love right here. A world that is so incredible and so beautiful, yet so hurtful and so deeply flawed. The reality is, I can't protect her, just as my mother couldn't protect me.
Yesterday, I laid down in our bed to relax with a glass of wine and watch the Democratic National Convention, and as I watched, I cried. I am not easily consumed by emotion and yet, there I laid, nursing my sweet baby, weeping. I wept for the unknown, I wept for what I did know so personally and so painfully. I am a daughter, a sister, a friend and most prominently, I am a mother.
I am a mother who did not wish to bring her daughter into this world. As a mother of boys, I hoped to instill respect in my sons, to teach them of consent and love. I don’t worry so fervently about the safety of my sons as I do the quality of their characters. Maybe those are societal stereotypes at play, but nevertheless, the truth is the truth. But as a mother of a daughter, what could I teach her that could possibly protect her? What could I teach her that the evils of our world wouldn't break down? We can say that gender, race and sexual orientation do not matter, but that isn’t the truth, is it? Do not be fooled. These paramount issues are not new, they have been unveiled. They are raw and they are ours.
When she was born at 4:20 am that October morning, before the indescribable relief of bringing my baby earth-side could wash over my body, I looked down at this incredible baby. For the first time, I learned that the baby I carried for nearly forty-two weeks was a female. The responsibility was instantly heavy on my exhausted shoulders. I imagined picking up the pieces, at just a moment old.
I see her in everything. I see her when I look in the mirror. I see her when I read the stories of rape. I see her when I scrutinize education. I see her when I envision the future. And it’s not just her I see. I see my beautiful, brave, brown nephews when I read stories of police brutality and racism. I know that the white privilege surrounding them will only protect them for so long. It seems like every morning we're waking up to new realities, new stories, same plot: She was drunk; he didn't comply. She shouldn't have been alone; he shouldn't have been walking down the street. She had on too little clothing; he was wearing a hoodie. I see my brown nephews, and their sister, my beautiful brown haired niece with the most infectious smile. I see their color. I see their worth. I think of them and I worry. I scramble.
It was then, as President Barack Obama, the first African American president, gave his compelling keynote speech to introduce the very first female nominee, Hillary Clinton, that I wept tears of joy. Tears of hope. This was remarkable, irrefutable progress. I watched as they panned the crowd. I marveled at the beautiful colors. I took in the vast differences in race, socioeconomic status, education, experiences and sexual orientation that paint the impeccable mural that is our nation. For the first time in so long, my eyes welled with hope. I hope the world hears her, believes her, my girl. I hope she has the most powerful, beautiful voice.
I cried because this beautiful girl may know no bounds. She may live in a world where “no” means “no” and "you can be anything you want to be” is so very real. Justice will be worth fighting for and most importantly, cost far less. I wept with pride for the opportunities that she will have. In this broken world, we stand together. We cry together; as mothers, as fathers, as friends and fellow inhabitants of our planet. We long for education that is beyond the trillions of dollars we were loaned. Education that is not taught in our schools, but through listening to one another, learning from one another, experiencing all of it and absorbing it. We know that it is ultimately our love, standing together with our brothers and sisters, listening to each culture, each gender, each sexual orientation... really listening to them, that will create a world of love that we hope for our babies. Love that is just bursting at the seams, uncontainable. Eagerness to love one another, learn from one another and protect one another will fuel our nation, our planet. What a time to be alive. What a time to be born.
This isn't a political endorsement. This is a reminder that although we have so far to go, we need to take in how far we have come. Indulge in that. Love it. Be proud of it! Then, let it be the evidentiary proof you have needed, to show that change can happen and it does happen. Promote change so the world will embrace our children for who they are, and our children will embrace them right back. So that when my nephews are teenagers, they can walk to the store and they can sell their mixtapes. They will be children, just as my boys will be. They will be respected adults, just as their cousins are. My daughter and my niece can be the President of the United States. They will be powerful beyond measure; they will be heard. They can spend their time curing cancer, discovering a new planet and further protecting ours, together. It has been said many times, many ways, but never has it stood more true to me than it does today. Be the change you wish to see in the world. Act on it. Write it down. Preach it. Make it personal. Let it consume you and change will inevitably happen, so that our children can just be and when our children have children, it doesn’t have to be their fight too.
Mug purchased from http://selflovegeneration.com