This week I had a daily gift. For the first time in nine months, I had a few hours to myself each day.
You might think this is a small gift, but I don’t. I’m a parent of young kids, a full-time teacher, and a student. Personal, free-time moments are rare.
While my daughters were in camp, I had a beautiful canvas of time before me. I painted it how I saw fit. During one of these moments I stopped into a coffee shop. I pulled my book out, settled in with my coffee and bagel, and noticed a woman next to me. She had a white splash of hair atop her head and a beaming, smiling face as her friend came over to the table. They embraced and it was clear these were two old friends.
They settled into easy catch-up conversation as I eavesdropped near them. That’s what all writers do, isn’t it? I was just doing research!
First, one woman talked about how she had just seen the movie “Inside Out” with her son. But the loveliest part? Her son is 30 years old. When he was little, he spoke of his emotions as characters. It was endearing and honest. His mom remembered and they decided to honor that shared memory by seeing this movie together.
That’s when it hit me: all of this will matter. Forever. Even when they are adults. Our stories are intertwined forever. A ribbon extending.
The other thing that hit me (again): female friendships are beautiful. These two had obviously been through parenting together. And they were still talking about parenting, relationships with their kids, and how to be better. They were still on the journey, and every bit of it matters.
Then one of them started talking about how even when it feels like your kids aren’t listening, they are. They hear you even when you think they don’t – even when you feel like a broken record. The woman right behind me, with a long mane of gray hair, and a warm, cottony voice, said that in all these years she didn’t think her messages were getting through to her kids. She felt like maybe they hadn’t heard her.
Then her kids became parents. She heard her message delivered to her grandchildren. The words fell from their mouths like diamonds. There they were. Clear as day.
They HAD heard. They had listened.
It had mattered.
To all of you struggling out there and repeating messages, over and over and OVER, emphasizing what is right and true and what you believe in your heart of hearts, it matters. These ladies know it does. They stand in front of us in the trajectory of motherhood. They’re looking back and seeing their words and work were important – ARE important – and making a difference. Yours will, too.
Here’s what I’m hoping comes around again, tomorrow, in a decade, someday. I will say these words often and try to live them every day (some are borrowed from my friends and favorite writers – thank you):
- Kindness matters.
- Love wins.
- Every person everywhere is EQUAL.
- We belong to each other.
- Use your voice. Speak your truth.
- Have courage. Be brave.
- Relentlessly show up for each other.
- Hope is sometimes all we have.
Thank you to these women who reminded me that it will all be okay; that a shared journey is better; that they will hear us in their own time.
Sometimes all we need is to catch a glimpse of what’s ahead of us – to see women who’ve paved the way and to feel that we will still be valued, important, vibrant, and heard. It was a comfort and a relief.