Being a Mother Made Me Resilient

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And because I'm a terrible liar, I have to believe what I'm saying. I can't just make up positive junk and have it fly out of the orifice I drink coffee from, because they'll know. They always know when mom isn't being legit. Before I say a word, I need to remember the strength of the human spirit; believe in the power of communal prayer; know that for every act of unspeakable violence, there are countless acts of kindness. I need to feel it deeply, because I want my kids to believe it, too.

Just a few days before, the boys had said goodbye to the only school in the only community they'd ever known. Then, with a lot of confidence and courage, they had walked into new classrooms knowing not a soul. (They amaze me. I would have been a nervous wreck.) They only get one first day, and one greeting from a mom on that day who's eager to hear all about it. So I put my phone away and I walked into the school yard to soak up their smiles. It gave me time to center myself, to find some balance again.

When we did speak of the Boston Marathon bombings later that evening, we talked about how messed up and scary the world can be. But we also spoke of the many people who ran to help those in need, and the love and compassion being shown all around the world. The good stuff, the human stuff, the stuff we need to cling to when a chasm of fear opens up.

I don't consider myself a fantastic mom; I'm mediocre at best. A look through my blog archives will reveal not a single craft, creative snack idea or ambitious activity. I don't do nearly enough of those things to make posts out of. But if I can give my children the gift of hope, then I'll have done something right. One day they won't have me reminding them of all the good still left in the world. They'll have to excavate that hope themselves.

Resilience is one of the many gifts motherhood has given me. It's funny how what I strive to teach them is, in fact, what they're teaching me.

Parenting is weird like that.


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