This post has been swirling around in my head for the last few days...and then I read a post about the very same thing last night on Life With Roozle, and now I can't get it out. So it's time to write it down.
I'd heard the song before, of course, and then I saw Sara Bareilles perform it with Carole King at the Grammys. But it wasn't until we stumbled upon it about a week ago (in an effort to get Let It Go off repeat) and I listened to it, really listened to it, that I fell in love with it. And I wasn't the only one in this house who did. Max and Molly have been listening to it while performing "figure skating routines" in twirly gowns and slippy socks on our wood floor. Even Evan busts a move when we blare it during our after-dinner dance parties. It's become a sort of anthem in our house, and at exactly the right moment.
And so, with thanks to Sara Bareilles for the inspiration and the words, I would like to offer up a few prayers to the Universe on behalf of my little loves.
Evan, fearlessness has not always come easily for you. Rather than diving into something new and figuring it out as you go, you sit back and watch first, becoming an expert from the sidelines. You learn from others' mistakes. You learn from others' successes. And then, when you feel ready, you wade in cautiously, but confidently. I'm grateful for this. You have spared us many heart-stopping moments on playgrounds, near oceans, and while riding your bike because we know that you're not going to go Evel Knievel on us. Thank you for that, sweet love.
I don't want to change your quiet, watching ways. I love your introspection; your mind, always turning. I want you to know, though, that if you do try something and you flounder, or fall, or even fail, that that's okay. You don't have to be Brave before you're ready, but being Brave is not the same as being successful. Don't let Watching stand in the way of Trying. There's room, and time, for both.
Now that you're getting older, we're seeing teeny glimpses of some Big Kid stuff on the horizon. We're starting to see your friends, and their influence, play a bigger role in your life. This is good news. You pick excellent friends, Ev. And they're lucky to have you in their group, too. I want you to have a trusted circle of buds. I want you to run with a pack. You don't need to be the leader of the pack but, whatever your social position, stay an Independent Thinker while in the pack. Be brave if you want to venture away from the group now and again to do your own thing. Be brave and invite others to join your pack....especially those who may not yet have one of their own.
Even when it's hard, be Brave and speak up for truth, or justice, or What's Right, even if you're the only one saying it. (Say, ahem, what you need to say.) And when it's too hard to be Brave on your own, we will hold your hand or give you the words you need, and we can be Brave together.
Max, every time I watch you dance and hear you sing along to this song, my heart feels like bursting. I want these words to sink deep within your soul and I want you to be able to dredge them up out of your subconsciousness any time you might need them. I hope you won't. But just in case that you do, I'll keep singing them with you, until they become a part of you.
You whispered in my ear the other day at the bus stop: "Mommy, do you think they know I'm wearing a dress?" Yes, baby. They did. Your winter coat and gloves covered your one-shouldered bodice, but your flowing skirt and pink leggings were clearly in plain view. I whispered back: "They know. Do you think they know I'm wearing jeans and boots?" You smiled. I squeezed your hand. Be brave, baby. Wear what you want. Dance as freely at school and with your friends as you do at home.
Stand up for yourself and for your right to be who you want to be. We'll be standing up (on our tiptoes) for you, too, for as long as we need to...until the world catches up to you...which it will. But until it does, be Brave and help the world along in it's change. Smile, like you did today, when a big kid asked, "Wait, did you say you got a Lego Friends set?!" You smiled brightly and said without a shadow of self-consciousness, "Yeah, and it's Mia's Lemonade Stand, BUT! You can also make Limeade!" Wear your Bravery as a shield against self-consciousness, forever, sweet boy.
Molly, it's harder for me to make a wish for you....as much as you've developed from a baby into such a little kid over the past year, the next few years are going to illuminate you and your personality in ways that I just can't even imagine as I look at you now, not yet 2. I don't yet know when you'll need an extra squeeze from me before I send you off on your way, or when I'll stay right by your side the entire time, or when you'll soar, without hesitation, smiling back at me.
So, baby girl, my wish for you is simple. May you always be a Thinker. You'll need to be Brave because the thinks you may think may set you apart from the others. That's okay. Being able to think for yourself will help you to find a healthy path, with supportive friends, lofty yet attainable goals, and confidence. Have the courage to think outside of the lines. A creative streak will keep things interesting. Think bravely, and with an open mind, before you make decisions...especially in matters of the heart....and in matters of college applications. Never forget: We live within commuting distance of a top-ranked public university. I will write you a killer letter of recommendation. I'm just saying.
Okay, Universe, message delivered.
Thank you, Sara Bareilles, for our anthem.