I want to tell her.
I want to tell her to keep that grace, that bravery, that ROAR-ing she does, at the entrance of a dark room, the one she does at this small, tender age, in order to scare out all of the supposed monsters in her room.
I want to tell her to keep it, the independence, this solving-your-own-problems, while not forgetting about the beauty in growing in God, in leaning in Him and on others.
That’s no small indignity, to ask for help when you need it.
That you can’t always depend on just yourself, I want to whisper in her ear.
But then again I want to tell here that there are some days that life is all about pulling up your own bootstraps, corralling your own painted pony instead of waiting on a prince on a white horse to come rescue you, that some days, it’s all up to you to get something done or taken care of.
But most days, it’s about the leaning in, the community.
There are so many things I want to warn her about with this as well.
That community and people are a double-edged sword; that the one who loves you the most can also be the one that hurts you the most, cuts the deepest.
That the one you don’t like or haven’t too high an opinion of is the one that you actually ending up trying to impress, for no real reason at all, except for your own ego.
I want to tell her that sometimes, people are mean, hurtful, unkind and uncaring.
I want to warn her of this, to humble her easy-going nature, lest someone takes advantage of her and her kindness.
But I don’t, not yet.
I give parent-y warnings, motherly advice because although I know all of these things to be true about humankind, I also know humankind to be kind, caring, accepting, peaceful, and full of grace and mercy when you least expect it.
That some days, it seems as if the kindness of humanity even surprises the most cynical of all of us.
So, then, how do you explain this tug of war with humanity, this handling of a knife that cuts on both ends? How on earth to try to explain to someone how exactly to hold that, I wonder.
Sometimes, you don’t have to. Some days the knife falls unaware, from some side kitchen cabinet you never saw there, razor-sharp and maims everything in its fall.
And some days that knife cuts into the darkness, pierces into the tenderness of you, the light, so much so that you feel it’s saved your own soul from becoming too dark and crowded. And you wonder how on earth you could be so defensive and full of self-safety when you’ve just witness an action so deep, so transforming, so kind? Just how?
How do you explain that to your child?
So I sit here and wonder and ponder in the quiet, hands running far too many times over the roundness of the coffee mug to count, way too many times to justify this confusing piece of writing, of advice I’m trying to give.
So, I try to explain, to teach the way I know how, the way I handle most things in life: Stumble through. Be truthful, don’t try and protect too much, because in the end, that’s more of a disservice to her and her generation than believing in fairy tales.
She needs tools, not tales. Sound advice and authentic stories, not outlandish fantasy or cold, bitter, hard truths that give no hope for the future.
So I fervently, quietly and consciously tell her real truths and authentic stories and all the while, pray.
I pray fervently, passionately that she continues to be the one, the strong one, the one that maybe, leads the other afraid ones to yell at the monsters in the dark, hold hands, clasped tightly and woven close to each other and to God.
I pray for her eyes to see and her ears to hear, eyes that are not clouded by hurt or pain or ego, but eyes that can see straight to the heart of things, with compassion and grace and what takes a little bit of bravery to see people as they are.
I pray she hears clearly, the ills of the world, and tries to help, instead of turning up the comfort, the activities and the iTunes louder so as to drown out the suffering of the world.
Mostly, I pray, I pray, I pray.
And some days, I pray for my bravery too, in leading her.