Whole Mama- Power

June 23, 2015 by

Tonight, I drove through the winding streets of suburbia toward Toys R Us for our annual shopping trip that rewards our boys for excellent “effort” grades. As I slowed down at a red light, something to the right caught my eye. I gasped, and I felt sick.

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I live in California, and sometimes I think that all the questions of racism are a little more theoretical, a little more removed. But then I take my babies to Toys R Us, and it flies in our faces. It’s here, Sarah. Don’t get comfy.

“Mom, what’s that flag for?” my little son who never misses a thing I do, who notes every shifting expression on my face.
“Well, baby,” I began. And yes, I told him the truth. He listened quietly, and then…
“How would you feel, if you were black, and you saw that flag flying high on a pickup truck?” I asked another question.
“Mom, I’d be scared. And really sad.”

“Do you want to know how I feel, as a white woman?”
“Yeah.”
“I feel angry. I feel angry that someone thinks it’s okay to make people feel scared and sad.”
“Me too. I feel angry.”

And you know, in that moment in my dusty minivan, I felt a breeze of empowerment. I told my small son the truth, and he told it back to me. He listened and I listened. And now he knows. He knows that it’s okay to look at something and not just roll your eyes or keep your distance, to be polite. It’s more than okay to call it what it is, to talk about it.

I have to admit, I don’t always feel powerful as a mother, though I know that I absolutely am.

But tonight, I did.

You can link up with the #WholeMama movement over at my lovely friend, Esther’s blog. I hope you do. Our word this week is Power.

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8 Comments

  • Reply Esther Emery June 24, 2015 at 7:09 am

    Yes! I feel like this particular instance of tragic violence by a white person against Black people is somehow a straw on the camel’s back. A lot of us are just done with not telling the truth. I’m so glad to see you empowered in this way, and as always love your beautiful, thoughtful writing.

  • Reply Gayl June 24, 2015 at 9:08 am

    “And you know, in that moment in my dusty minivan, I felt a breeze of empowerment. I told my small son the truth, and he told it back to me. He listened and I listened. ” And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Teaching by example that we should not be afraid to tell the truth and to listen to each other. It’s so good to have these conversations with our little ones, and to teach them how to respond. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply fiona lynne June 24, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    “He knows that it’s okay to look at something and not just roll your eyes or keep your distance, to be polite. It’s more than okay to call it what it is, to talk about it.”
    Oh what a gift to give your son. I feel so caged by that natural reaction in me to avoid the hard conversations. It’s a freedom you are giving him, a challenging one but an invaluable one.

  • Reply Caris June 24, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Good for you!!!!

  • Reply Jamie June 24, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    You are a gentle guide through a tough topic. Especially tough to a child’s eyes, that the world could get so harsh, and hard-hearted, and blind to empathy. These conversations are opportunities to empower the seeds of change.

  • Reply Ashley Hales June 25, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    Love this Sarah! Thanks for your truth-telling and your generous and powerful heart. I love seeing you hear the truth back from your babies and igniting a fire inside their bones. Love it. I agree with Esther, we are done staying silent.

  • Reply Amanda Cleary Eastep June 25, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    These past weeks have opened the doors for many of us to have important-I would say even life-altering-conversations with our children. What you did, talking with your son, made a difference not only in that moment, but in the way he will one day treat others.

  • Reply Erika @ Overflow July 10, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    This little story gives me hope for harder conversations when our littles get bigger. I love that you were just honest and he understood.

    And then this, too: “I have to admit, I don’t always feel powerful as a mother, though I know that I absolutely am.”

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