Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Fighting the darkness

This is about so much more than a toddler fight over a binkie...

Yesterday, I'm sitting at the sitter's watching the girls play while I talk to our beloved caretaker. If you haven't figured out, I usually like to sit back and watch how their little minds work. The reason my kids probably have so many entertaining or not so entertaining moments is because I like to give them a chance to figure something out on their own, see if they can solve their own problems.

So this little boy takes Kenzi's binkie. She tries to tell him to give it back in her angry, baby rambling way. At first she's just kind of throwing her hands down like she does lately when she gets mad and frustrated. He acts like he's going to give it back to her but then yanks it back. Well, my daughter just hauls off and starts hitting him. So okay I step in here and tell the little boy to give me back the binkie. And then I act all horrified to the sitter that my child hit another for picking on her. Course luckily one of the reasons I like my sitter so much is because we see some things in our world the same way. And like she says, the world is a tough place. Sometimes you have to show that you can stand your ground. And learning to stand your ground starts early.

As much as I want to be there to shelter my kids from the bullies, the meanness, the hatred, the ugliness of our world, I can't always be there and I can't always fight all their battles for them. But what I can do is instill in them courage, strength, and a fighting spirit. Do I want them to go around getting into fights? No, that's not what I am saying. I do not want them to be the bully. But I can already see that that girl will stand her ground. She will not let people bully her, push her down, discourage her or stand in her way. She's seventeen months and she's ready to take on the world. At least she thinks so. She'll even tell you herself in her angry, rambling baby way.

There are so many evils out there lurking in the darkness. And as if the real world is not scary enough with things like this past week's bombing in Boston, but now that I have children I cannot even watch movies where someone's child is injured or killed. The book and movie, Lovely Bones, still freaks me out. This girl's neighbor who she knows lures her away on her walk home from school one night and rapes and kills her. Now that Averi can communicate I probably stress to her a few times a week how "you do not go anywhere with anyone except mommy and daddy unless we send you with them." I stress this so much because she LOVES people.  Not that I think any of my neighbors are psycho killers but it's just a scary world out there and you never know. She doesn't see the bad in people, which is awesome in one way and so scary in another.

And because they're girls we may or maybe not (I don't have any sons so I don't really know) worry about them even more. As much as I'm a feminist and all about girl power, boys are physically stronger. My husband reminds me of this every time he thinks he needs to show the girls a wrestling move on me. He shows me and Averi often how to get out of choker holds and random but supposedly useful self defense moves. I know when Kenz is older they'll both go to karate/self defense together (Averi likes to go around the house now doing her he ha as she call it). And for all those gun control advocates out there sorry but I don't agree with you on that one. I grew up around guns. I learned how to use one as a girl because again, as much as I want to push my girls towards the light, darkness is out there. You hope for the best but prepare yourself for worse. Know what you need to know and do what you need to do when it comes down to it. I believe in our God, have hope for our future, and choose to see the good in humanity, but I can't erase the bad or the evil. It will be there, always in the shadows, and sometimes it rears its ugly head. No matter what form it is when it rears its head, I want my girls mentally and emotionally ready to push forward, to do what's right, to stand their ground, to fight.

No, the little boy taking the binkie is not an evil little boy at all. He's just a harmless, probably really sweet boy. So maybe I'm wrong for letting two toddlers sort the problem out themselves and halfheartedly telling my daughter we don't hit. Maybe I'm THAT mother. I do not want them to be the bully, but I want my girls to learn now that when the going gets tough I want them to come out fighting. Whether it's physically, mentally, emotionally, whatever they need to do to survive. Life is tough. It's a hard world at times. I want them to know that there's not always going to be someone there to fix their problems.They can't learn that by me butting in to solve all their problems for them. I want them to be confident to stand on their own two feet and to take on the world in whatever way  they feel they need to.

I've been following the story of a young teenage girl from my hometown (you can read her story Kori Quinn here). That girl has the fighting spirit. That girl is taking on cancer, the world, and is an inspiration to all that no matter how hard life is, what is thrown at you, you fight. You fight with everything in your being.

You can always see the monster but you have to be ready to fight it. My friend Emily wrote a great piece about The Monsters under the Bed and as a mother I would love to think they're just fictional characters of our imagination. But they are there in that darkness in some many different forms and as their mother I just want to make sure they're ready when and if they have to overcome them on their own.

*My thoughts and prayers are with Kori Quinn everyday. I do not know her personally (my whole hometown does though) but she is an amazing young woman that demonstrates an unshakeable inner strength that we can't all help but to admire. I hope you take a moment to read her story, possibly share her story, and if you can donate to this wonderful person to help in her fight to beat cancer.

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