When I was a child, I would lie in bed, terrified of what lurked behind the small crack left open in the closet door or what would grab me from under the bed if I dared to get up for a glass of water or use the bathroom before dawn. Every flicker of a shadow …
That resilience and willingness to do what’s right for all of us is a lesson our children are learning and accepting right now. Kindness is important to teach and practice, but prioritizing the common good can help our children’s generation build stronger and more resilient communities in the future. Our children are learning this lesson, and we adults must also take note.
Sometimes mothers who only have boys will joke about being happy they never had a girl. I will chuckle and tell them, “That’s because you don’t have a Lucy.” She is a light and a wrecking ball- kind, fierce, loving, and tough. I am in constant awe of my daughter.
So if moms just need a Lucy to understand the joy of having a daughter, it seems I just needed a Hannah, Haley, Cori, Payton, Amaria, Myana, Kaitlyn, Kiley, Leila, and Addy to learn that I was meant to coach girls.
Fast forward to Christmas 2019 where I am now Santa. This year may be the last when both of my children believe. I want our first Christmas morning in our new home to be special and magical. I want the gifts under the tree to be something that only Santa could have brought. I have their Christmas lists and I want to check each and every item off of them. And therein lies my problem.
Both research and instinct to protect not just MY children, but ALL children, combine to fuel my passion for confronting climate change and all of the tangential environmental, economic, and security issues connected to the climate crisis we are experiencing. It’s also why I’m incredulous when I learn that so many parents view believing in this scientific Truth to be a choice.
This past summer could not have arrived soon enough. Submitting my final grades felt like reaching the finish line at a marathon: mentally and physically drained, I collapsed and was ready to recover and refuel.
Summer 2019 was powered by gratitude instead of apprehension, which transformed the experience. As summer ends, I’m grateful, not for the first day of school and break from my kids, but for the three months that allowed me to recharge and reconnect with them. This summer’s lessons came as I allowed myself to decompress and my children to lead the way.
I turned 40 on April 3rd, 2019, amidst the turmoil of moving into our new home, an unrelenting barrage of grading, the daily challenge of balancing sports schedules and coaching duties, and the never ending stress of family concerns. My head has been spinning since last summer and I am just now able to breathe deeply, and come to terms with my new middle-aged reality.
Parenting is political and the choices we make now will have repercussions that will resonate for a lifetime. My children are close to a decade away from voting, so I have the solemn responsibility to inform myself and vote for candidates and issues with their best interest in mind. Choosing not to vote or voting for candidates and policies that benefit me now, but do not invest in the future would be selling out my kids.
The generational divide may be wide, but our grandparents are our connection to the past and a humbling reminder of just exactly where we came from. Once they are gone from this earth, they leave a void and we need to decide how to fill it. Just as we sort through their belongings, we need to decide which memories to keep and pass on to our children and, if we are so lucky, grandchildren.