This is the day (I use the whole weekend) that I totally take advantage of my mom status. I expect the royal treatment. I expect to get out of all of my carpooling, house cleaning, dog walking duties. I expect for my family to sing my praises and celebrate the fact they they are lucky to have me in their lives.
What I didn't expect this year, was the fact that I would be spending a great deal of time thinking about my journey as a mother. I have always prided myself on raising strong, independent, smart and sassy black girls. It has always been my goal to send my girls out into the world and know in my heart that they would be OK out there without me by their side. I have taught them to be fierce, driven, kind, nurturing and to speak up for what they believe. I have told them on many occasions that they are to strive to be black women that stand out in the crowd, Black women that take people by surprise with their resiliency and knowledge, Black women that stand up and speak up for what they believe and what is right in the world.
Over the past year, I have been questioning if my teachings are the right ones for this world we are living in. Is it safe for me to teach my black girls these things? We have sat as a family and watched the world as we know it, crumble in front of our eyes. My girls have begun to witness events that feel familiar to them as things they have read about in their history books and that we have taught them about. The idea of them as black women possessing civil rights is being questioned at our dinner table and the understanding of all the "stories" and "lectures" on racism that we have given them over the years is beginning to ring true. They are watching history repeat itself on many channels on TV and in social media. They are taking part in the re-enactment of history as they protest, march, observe moments of silence, debate and write about the injustices being displayed in front of them. Familiar names of those gunned down stay a constant in our family conversations. Tamir Rice, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Rekia Boyd, Freddie Gray (and many more) are all names that frequent our conversations and drive my girls to speak out more, do more and make more of a difference amongst their classmates friends and in their communities.
So, of course I should expect nothing less of them then to speak up, protest, question, debate and stand up for their rights and the rights of others. This is what they have been taught right? But at this time in our world, I am wondering if our teachings will keep them safe. Yes, we also taught common sense, restraint and advocacy skills, but will these additional skills really matter in a world that is becoming so angry and divided?
I am torn. I want my girls to continue to go out into the world and strong black women. I want them to protest, shout and stand their ground. I want them to feel pride in their actions and the black women they are becoming. But, I also want them to be safe. I want them to feel confident that all that I have been teaching them will lead them to the lives they wish for. I want them to flourish and stay resilient. I want them to continue to be proud of being black women and not afraid of this beautiful gift.
Most of all, I want them to know that I am always and forever proud of them and the women they have become. Whether silent or loud protesters, compassionate or hard-core thinkers or advocates for the fallen and neglected people in the world, I will always have their backs, support them and lift them up.
Happy Mother's Day.