Today, as the inauguration of the 45th president was happening live in Washington D.C. I sat at a dining room table ironing vinyl letters to the front of a cotton t-shirt. The girls and I are marching in the Women's March tomorrow afternoon in Atlanta. We'll be wearing shirts that we made.
When I became a mother I always knew I wanted to be the kind that had long conversations with my child. I enjoy being generous with how I inform her. Only now, she is 2 and catching the meaning of things faster than I can frame my explanations. I struggle to know which conversations we are ready for.
I see my role in parenting as a steward. As the person who illustrates what a choice looks like. The adult who makes moral responsibility appear on a blank page. I am the one who can draw kindness and make it real, for my daughter who eagerly waits to see what she can make out from the strokes I am placing in front of her eyes.
As her mother I am the steward of her right and wrong.
From the comforts of our home, where the tv chirps the rhymes of Daniel Tiger to the beat of a dishwasher being unloaded, and the chaos of our day is trying to get the toddler to eat her fish sticks instead of cramming them into the pocket size hole in her booster seat, the 3 bedroom world she knows well is control by us; it has minnow size rights and wrongs. It's out there that my explanations feel inadequate. Out there, where the questions get a little harder to answer as her eyes grow wider. In this very real world, I feel cheated of words for how to respond when she asks me about the man on the park bench, and if he is sad.
But that doesn't mean I stop talking. I'm convinced this bold and uncertain world is ever in need of our motherly conversations.
When I heard about the Million Women March happening in D.C. I was moved and excited, because I believe this march is a conversation that needs to be heard. Because when hundreds of thousands of women, men and children plan to show up in their cities to unite and voice their concerns, you better believe I'm going to pay attention. Because our explanations can only serve us if we are truly willing to listen. Because I'm not going to pretend I know your story. Because my best explanations include everyone. So yeah, I'm marching. And though I couldn't physically make it to Washington, uniting in my own city of Atlanta with my neighbors and friends feels pretty darn awesome too.
I watch my 2 year old collect new understandings at an exponential pace. This makes me realize that I too must continue to engage intentionally with the things that are hardest to understand about our world. I have to show up and at least try.
Because what scares me more than a difficult question, is the silence of misunderstanding. As a country, we can't afford to have that happen.
I'm looking forward to the day when Florence reaches the age that we talk about history. We'll talk about the Women's March that happened on January 21, 2017, and, as her mother, I can say I was there.