There is something to smile about in this moment.
Words hard to believe, but I’ll take them, to shore up the smallest of cores inside. Lining it with hope. The one place I desperately want to protect from getting ripped into by this senseless world.
And if my own children were ripped from me, one random day, I can’t say any of that would be enough.
I lay my head down last night, angry and hurt, for these families that sent their children to school one day, and now reckon with the vulnerability that grips us deeply. We are frail.
And this young child next to me, trying to process the possibility, says to me, “I am glad we don’t live there.”
I ponder telling her that we already do.
The moment I first held Nakiah in my arms, and the days that followed – the biggest shock of motherhood was how vulnerable I had suddenly become. For weeks I felt dumbfounded by the revelation that every person I passed on the street, every child in the grocery store, every barely-dressed pop star on TV…had a mother…
…who was vulnerable.
While settling into our apartment here, I sowed several dozen herb seeds in the kitchen. The light, the space, it all seemed right. Everything sprouted. But over the weeks, the spindly leaves dropped. One by one, I lost them. I adjusted each element I could think to – soil, container, water, air flow, light.I’m pretty good with plants, gardens, and even sprout seeds a little obsessively. What was it? I consider the life energy they possess, how I can help it along or not, but it’s all beyond my own understanding.
Right now, three sprouts remain. They are doing well and I nurture them with a delicate hand. I’ve re-potted them a few times, putting their roots a little deeper each time.
It’s the same thing I do with my own children, with my own heart, each time our belief has run dry, each time the world has knocked us down. If I nestle the roots of these delicate girls a little deeper into that core inside – and often, it is them doing that for me – maybe we can hold on through this chaos.
We look for hope, for something to smile about. They are getting accustomed to my “list of 12 good things about…” this day, each other, anything. If at the end of a list of 12 they don’t feel better, we do another. We may not be able to calm the tempest shaking our surface, but I will fight to be rooted in a resilient core.