July 5th 2018
I owe you an apology.
I am so sorry.
I am sorry that today I let you down- as your mother, as your Sister, and as a woman who should have your back for all ways and all times. These are the standards I hold myself to, and when I fail to rise to the occasion, I take that as an invitation to take a closer look at why I faltered. (That means that I struggled, I was unsteady, I was weakened. It's okay to make mistakes, Boo, but we can't shy away from learning from them).
Today, when you were playing at the Children's Museum, I witnessed your experience of sexism.
Don't get me wrong, you've experienced it before, baby girl.
But this was different. This experience I saw you take note of. I saw it register. I saw it land. And as it did, I felt my breath leave my lungs. The air was knocked out of me and I was stunned into paralyzed silence.
I heard, from across the room, how the gentleman instructed you to fetch your little sister as she climbed over the rail.
Immediately I thought, "How ludicrous. Telling a four year old to mind a two year old, as their nine year old much larger brother is right there." I made my way over to you, and I could see the look of discomfort on your face. You've never handled the energy of anyone's disapproval inconspicuously. (That means that you wear your heart on your sleeve. Which is an honest way to be. Nothin' wrong with that, Sweets).
Scooping your sister up and setting her back down on the proper side of the railing, I saw how the man's grandson took the toy fishing pole from your hands.
I watched as you looked at him, bewildered.
If it had been your two year old sister he'd stolen from, she'd have grabbed it right back and given him an emphatic earful.
But not you. Your feistiness and flame is seemingly reserved for the stages on which you perform. When you take on a self-imposed character of your own creation, and dance wildly and with abandon.
Today, at the museum, when that boy took your toy, you waited in hurt silence, unsure of how to proceed.
And this is when I failed you, when the boy's grandfather did speak up.
He asked his grandson feebly, just once, to give the toy back, and then shrugged, looked at you and said:
"That's just how boys are, you know? They like to go first. That's just how they are."
Oh Bodes. Just writing those words hurts my heart.
I was glued in space and time. I heard him, I watched the pathetic, disgusting words come from his mouth and land on your sweet, impressionable self. And while I thought, "What?! No. No. No. No. No," my mouth was dry and my lips were sealed shut.
I fear you learned more in my silence than you did in his words.
It reminded me of so many times in my life where I've been treated less than because I'm a woman. And in those moments, like today, I stayed silent and still.
Don't want to make a scene, don't want to be a trouble maker.
Don't want to be a victim.
Don't want to piss anyone off.
Maybe they didn't really mean it.
Maybe I made it up, maybe it didn't happen.
It could be I asked for it?
"Boys will be boys, you know?"
No, Bodhi, no. Boys will be accountable for their actions. As will girls. As will all others along the gender spectrum. Full stop.
The difference between my past and today, is that todays are for you. Today, my responsibility spreads to you, your sister, and your brother. It is my job to be sure that the three of you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that We Are One. And if I accomplish literally nothing else before I die, then I will still go in peace.
Oneness, baby, means that beneath all of the seeming differences that we perceive with our physical senses, we're the same.
When we get right down to Oneness, gender means squat.
I'm sorry you were hurt today. I'm sorry if that experience was confusing. I'm sorry I couldn't protect you from it. I'm sorry I didn't step in and advocate for you, I'm sorry that I froze in anger, disbelief and fear.
It took me a while to understand why my raging Mother Bear was so suppressed, and the conclusion I came to is that all of us adults out here, we're all coming from (or healing) our childhood and adolescent wounds. Unconsciously or consciously.
I can't promise to be the perfect mumma, Boo. But I can promise to show you and remind you that you're worthy of space, that your feelings and words and needs are worthy of expression. Just as everyone else's are. And that the magic dance of life is the giving and the taking of all of these feelings, words, and needs. Equally. Balance is a constantly moving dance.
I can promise to choose fierce advocacy for your heart, your body, your mind, your soul, AND the Oneness.
I can promise you that you are an exquisite part of the Oneness. You're a part of it, and yet you are perfectly whole and complete, no matter how you express it.
I love you, my stunningly radiant girl of love. Thank you for teaching me.