Age six is the age of asking what words mean, so is age four and also eighteen. Every conversation is a minefield. Will I get through a sentence without someone asking “what does that mean Mom?” Will I be able to define the word without using the word in its own definition? Will my definition lead to someone asking for the definition of a word within my definition?
This morning we were discussing Sawyer’s new preschool and whether or not he plans to detach from my leg without a crow bar sometime after circle time yet before the goodbye song. Parker explained that he is brave because he goes to school and McKenna shared that she is brave because she had a bloody nose the other day and, the yet to contribute Sawyer, asked the question:
What does brave mean?
The reason I have more than one child quickly became apparent when Parker interrupted my lack-of-coffee coma to explain.
“Brave is when you do stuff like eating lunch without your mom. And when Sissy goes to school for all these years and years? That is brave too.”
He couldn’t possibly understand the depths of how right he was and how much I appreciated his backseat parenting.
I have learned so much about bravery lately that, had I been a bit more caffeinated, I could have given them a speech that would get us halfway to Disney World.
The last two weeks I have spent hours listening to the stories of women who wear bravery on their sleeves or tucked discreetly in their pockets.
Along with my Listen To Your Mother co-producers I have sat in front of women who define confidence and beauty and courage in a vivid rainbow of ways.
For some, bravery was sitting with us, hands trembling, as they read their words and for others bravery was standing four feet away shouting their story for all to hear.
I left each audition humbled by the vulnerability of women offering their stories for the chance to have even one person in an audience full of strangers say “me too.”
A fog of Kumbaya drifts over my head that I don’t see leaving anytime soon. I pass women in the grocery store or at school pick up and think your story could be as rich as hers or as comedically imperfect as hers and I wish you had a chance to tell it. Can we sit in the frozen food section or plop down on three feet of frozen snow and talk about what brought you to right here?
We should all be so lucky to share what makes us who we are and to listen to what makes the woman next door the person she is.
Sometimes bravery is leaving your mom for your first day of school and sometimes it is watching your heart walk through the door with a backpack on and sometimes,
bravery is just saying hello.
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