I’m raising smart girls
Think and speak for yourself girls
There is no box, “I do what I want”, girls
Set yourself apart girls, follow the truth in your heart girls
Golden Parenting Moments: Tissues or glitter sometimes required.
During that fateful ultrasound to determine our baby’s sex, the technician noticed pockets of fluid inside our son’s lung cavity. We were told that our baby was a boy and then, instead of going to lunch to celebrate, to dream, to plan – we were immediately sent to the hospital to wait in nervous silence for someone to tell us what was going to happen.
Play is a powerful tool. For children, it helps their minds create connections between neurons, helps them promote development of coping mechanisms, and lets them experience different interactions in a safe and controlled manner. It is a major part of how they learn to navigate the world around them.
For adults, it has different, but no less important, purposes. When adults play, they are able to let go of daily stresses and be present in the moment, if only briefly. This can be extremely difficult when you have responsibilities at work, dependents at home, and things need to get done. What are you doing playing when you have so many things to do?!
When we, as adults, allow ourselves to release our stresses and interact with our bodies and environments freely, our brains are able to move the fast pace and constant stimulus to the back burner and just be.
As a kid, it always baffled me how boring and controlling grownups could be. Why did everything have to be so serious? Do people just get less fun as they got older? Not me, I thought. I’m going to be fun even when I’m all grown up.
Fast forward to the nightly ritual in which I find myself currently mired. I chase my three-year-old around with a toothbrush getting increasingly frustrated as time goes on, so that by the time I’m actually brushing her teeth I have to fight to keep from aggressively attacking her mouth and anything else near it with the toothbrush to the detriment of her health and safety.
There was a great tragedy in my family the other day. It came suddenly, while I was sitting at the kitchen table and my kids were playing outside. The idyllic quiet of early evening in the country was jarringly broken by my daughter’s hysterical scream.
I jumped up and, heroically abandoning the Facebook post I was working on, ran outside to save the day. But I was too late.
As I followed my son’s finger pointing up high into the darkening azure sky, I saw a faint speck growing smaller and smaller, and I understood my daughter’s pain.
Her balloon, Balloony as she so creatively named it, was making a frenetic escape to the stratosphere.
My four-year old loves making herself burp—mouth-gaping, deep-bellied belches that would impress a locker room of teenagers. She smiles after each one, basking in her skill mastery, as she waits for me, her Southern-raised mama, to react with an eye roll, a grimace, or, in moments of sheer exasperation, a shouted “Stop that!” Dr. Catherine…
All parents can hope for is to have the opportunity to watch their children grow away from them, to sprout strong legs of independence that will lead them on their own journey.
They must face hardships, they must fight their own battles, they must conquer their own demons.
Just not yet.
I’ve never given my stretch marks a second thought. After all, they’re not that big, they’ve faded over time and aren’t very noticeable, and besides, I don’t regret any of them because they mark me as a mother.
I’d forgotten they were even there, to be honest. But the other morning as I stood bent over, eye-to-stretch mark, I couldn’t miss them. And suddenly, I had a thought about how a different type of stretch mark is happening to me right now. It’s one that no one else can see, but it marks me as a mother just the same.
My oldest daughter – the OG stretch mark maker, herself – left on Thursday to go halfway around the world to perform with her dance company, The Jefferson Dancers. They’re in the South of France (Ooh! La! La!) for ten days.
It’s my heart that’s being stretched right now – and it’s going to leave a mark for sure.