As the girls grow older, it becomes more clear just how much of parenting is leading by example.
Sometimes it is modeling. Sometimes it is narratives. And sometimes it is definable actions that become rooted memories.
For a child, like Pepper, who needs to learn, practice and continually hone her skills of emotional regulation and impulse control – I provide a living, breathing concrete example of how to do this. At my best parenting moments my example is spot on. At my lowest, my actions and reactions show her just how long the learning process is and that I am still doing just that at 36 years old. My apologies model relationship repair and the opportunity to take our mistakes and learn from them.
Every single thing I do is with the intense judgement of an influential audience watching, waiting, learning, modeling and growing.
The good parenting moments outweigh the rough ones.
Taking a hold of these opportunities for growth makes me a better mom, a better partner and a better friend.
The last week and a half have been hard. So hard. The way it is playing out on social media. The actions that are being taken against minorities. The divide, hostilities and downright discomfort that are forming in families and friendship. The colors that are appearing and hardening. The glue that is holding me transfixed to the mainstream media and loss of control as things play out.
Despite my years of practice, I feel completely ill equipped to put the feelings I have into comprehensible words. The rawness makes it feel like physical expression is the only thing that justly honors the ache and angst.
I know my role for children. I know the foundation we have laid. I know the family values we uphold and the honor we have raised them with. I know the tenets of their Montessori education and the all encompassing worldview these create. I know the solid ground they stand on. They will forever be kind, safe and helpful. This I have no doubt of.
It is the fight I am being called to that I am struggling with.
I want to fuel a flame of beautiful power in my girls. I want to support their divine feminine. I want to help open their eyes to the realization of all they are as females and all they can be. I want them to see the reins, feel them in their hands and plow their path.
I want to be brave. I want to stand tall in all of that, too. The gifts, opportunities, realizations and truths.
I avoid conflict like an infectious outbreak. It goes against my nature in so many ways. I see the energy and gauge whether the interactions I partake in add or drain from this energy.
Will voicing my concern fall on deaf ears? Will my cup be the only one left empty besides a fill of angst? What was gained, at my expense, from my expression?
And perhaps, most terrifyingly honest of all, do I have the conviction and strength to weather that? Am I weak?
My past path is not one paved with bravery. I often take the path of least resistance and self preservation. If I look back, I am aware that some of my feelings of inadequacy are deeply rooted in adolescent bullying. I am no longer 12 years old. I am stronger. But am I strong enough? Brave enough?
I am being bombarded with the message to rise up. A call to action I don’t turn away from but have yet to embrace. To rebel with grace and respect. To stand up for the people I believe in. The organizations I support. The lifestyles I care about. The incredible diversity. All of the things that are being threatened.
My dollars speak one language. My words another. Even my skin color sends a message. My voice is loud. But my actions are undeniably powerful. Boldest.
I feel a deep and unexplainable need to set the example. To live out the words we’ve practiced and committed to. To root the memories deep.
To stand tall. With you.
To use my voice to say it’s not okay.
To use my body as a model of who I am and what I believe. To hold the space in the group and be one of the many sending the same message.
I want to be brave.