Once it came out of Eliot’s mouth, I knew why it stung so badly.
What I’ve been trying to teach my boys is to acknowledge their own bravery, to not be afraid.
But instead, I’ve been teaching him that women are not brave, and that fear is our nature.
I’ve been teaching him that all the important stuff (beyond killing spiders) should be left for the men and the boys, so moms can do mommy things.
We were telling stories, and when the woodsman came with his ax, Eliot said it then.
“But mommies don’t cut down trees. Mommies are not brave.”
Travis turned Eliot toward him and said,
“No, son. Mommies are very brave. They are so brave.”
It’s Mother’s Day Weekend, and what we need to remember this year is that we are brave.
And we also remember that motherhood isn’t just about being a mother.
It’s also about daughters, sisters, mentors and friends.
It’s about accepting the brave and courageous charge of womanhood.
It’s about remembering that we belong to each other, and therefore,
our courage belongs to each other, too.
I’ve shown my boys the wrong side, and in all my love for storytelling, I’ve allowed Eliot to miss it.
So, this weekend, tell them why you’re brave.
Tell them how you sat up all night giving birth to them, how you courageously had a c-section so that they could be safely in your arms.
Tell them about your friendships, about what it takes to be wise and good when the world often wants darkness and shame.
Tell them how you choose, every day, to believe in them, to believe in yourself, in family, in living a life of hope.
Tell them how you’re brave, so they’ll understand, so they’ll know.
And let them look back into your eyes and say,
“Oh, mama. I knew it the whole time. I see it every day.”