Laughing from the Other Side

My mom used to tell me that the toddler years were when she really started to enjoy motherhood – we were a bit more independent, we could express our feelings using words. Life seemed more fun.

In the midst of a screaming rage from our own preschooler, I looked at my mom and asked, Really?!?! This was your favorite mothering season?!?!

My mom laughed (as only you can laugh from the other side…) and suggested that maybe she had forgotten some of these moments. She was sure they happened, but when she looked back, she didn’t really remember them.

That gave me some hope. We are in the trenches with All the Emotions and I worry that I’ll look back on this time with distaste. Or that Bea will look back on these months and wonder at my parenting skills.

IMG_9960.jpgThank God we forget. That there’s something in our brains that lump rough feelings and experiences into the I survived so it couldn’t have been that bad category. I wonder if the toddler/preschool years are dealt with in the same way as birth – that we somehow forget the pain and remember the result.

I’m clinging to the hope that the results of these power struggles and boundaries and everything result in an well-adjusted, thoughtful, empowered daughter. At this stage, I can only hope and pray and trust that it will. If I stopped now, it would be too discouraging, so I remember my mom’s from-the-other-side laughter and hope that one day, I’ll laugh in the same way, having forgotten these rough moments.

(Note: Bea is an amazing kid and 95% of the time we’re good and we have amazing adventures. It’s just that other 5% that is so intense…)

Are there life experiences that you’re thankful to have forgotten or, at least, looked back on with rosier perspective? As a parent, what’s your favorite stage?

Linked with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday, a time to write without editing. Today’s prompt is Forget.

Choosing to Speak

I’m not much of a Facebook debater. I tend to stick to “likes” and comments about things I know – how cute my friends’ kids are and which books I like. I’ve only ever gotten close to an altercation once: When a friend posted about solo parenting for the first time and wondered if she would shower or eat all weekend, I said something about self-care and that it’s ok if the baby cries while she showered. The comments that followed suggested I had told my friend to abandon her baby on a mountainside, exposed to the elements while she sipped champagne. Yikes! I’m definitely not cut out for the big-leagues of Facebook debate!

But, in my year of choice, I’m wondering how to engage on Facebook in a more thoughtful approach. In the aftermath of Ferguson and the Eric Garner non-indictments, along with the protests that continue, I have friends posting things like, All Lives Matter! Get over it! and articles about police support. While I agree that all lives matter and that the vast majority of law enforcement are committed to protecting communities, I also have strong opinions about systemic injustice and the fact that wearing a uniform does not automatically make one a hero.

In a world that does engage in social media debates and where it’s not always possible to go to coffee with someone to talk about things, I wonder how much good I do by sitting back and not engaging, by relying on my own life choices to speak louder than a well-crafted rebuttal, and when I need to pushback a bit and ask questions that bring light to other opinions. I’ve been following more bloggers of color and champions of injustice in the recent months and they say, we the privileged need to speak up. Without everyone’s voice, change doesn’t happen.

I wish there was a kind and gracious way of saying, A hero is made by actions, not by a chosen profession. And, until the majority (whether religious, educational, skin color, or economic level) recognize and work to reconcile the systemic injustices inflicted on the minority, we need consistent and continual reminders that minority lives do matter.

Until I gain the courage and the eloquence to pushback, I’ll keep posting my rebuttals on my own wall, hoping my friends read these articles, just as I read theirs. For now, my choice is to listen to others and promote their words. And, perhaps that is more powerful than any debate I can engage.

How do you interact on social media? Any tips for sharing opinions without opening debate?