This morning I sat alone in tears, suddenly overcome with so much sadness with all the hard things happening in the world. There was so much to grieve in an aching world, I barely knew where to start. So much ugliness, fear, hatred, exploitation and harming one another. There are so many things that I can’t yet talk to you boys about in your littleness and precious innocence, and sometimes I get so scared about what lies ahead for you. In fact, the sadness and the fear are sometimes so great that I can’t even look at it directly, for fear it might consume me.
Like most people, I want to be able to DO something about all the awful in the world, all the hurting and suffering. And in the smallest and humblest of ways this blog is that something. Mothering you both is that something. Showing up and trying to be kind to everyone I meet is that something. These things aren’t grandiose, but it’s becoming ever more apparent that simply being kind to one another and to ourselves can be a radical rebellion.
My goal as a mother is to raise you both to be lovers of the world, to be able to connect with people across beliefs and cultures and geographies and economics. To give you the values that I was so friggin lucky to raised with by my own parents and my sister: tolerance and respect and love and peace and generosity and kindness. To raise other people up rather than tear them down. To do your best to release judgment and to love what is. To take care of one another.
And I was crying this morning not only because of grief over how those values don’t always seem apparent in the world. But I was crying over how I don’t always live them in my own life, and how I’m often awful and nasty to those I love. How I have to be reminded again and again to be kind to myself. It’s often so much easier to be loving and kind and forgiving to other people than it is to be to ourselves.
What I want you to know, my little ones, is that in order to be gentle with the world you must first be so very gentle with yourself. You must be fierce in the protection of your own heart, and be vigilant to always carve out space to nurture yourself in a world that seems to be demanding and distracting away from that nurturing instinct. As I learned so many years back in my flight attendant days- you are the most important person on the airplane. Secure those oxygen masks, guys. You’ve got to take care of yourself first before or else all your beautiful values will be for naught.
You’re calling from the other room, and I’m going to take you swimming in the ocean now, to smile and laugh and probably get irritated at you when you don’t listen or when you take too long. We’ll go about our routine. This tender part of my aching heart won’t be visible to you today- it really wants to close off altogether. But today I’m making a promise to do my very best to keep my own heart open and to love myself like crazy so I can teach you both to do the same. I promise that as long as I’m able, I’m going to hold your hands as you grow into an inevitable understanding of The Awful Things We Do To One Another, and to do everything I can to radically shape you into brave forces of love and kindness. For all of our sakes, because this world so desperately needs you to grow into love.