Remember this? He passed away this week. A little angel who had been sick most of his life. My mom went to the funeral where his mother clutched her baby’s blanket and spoke of her love for him.
It’s my birthday today, and as my bright-eyed children smile at me and drag around their own blankies, my heart is heavy thinking of that child’s poor mother.
We went to the park, Steve with his coffee, I with my tea. And as the dog swam and barked and the girls ran and threw hats and ripped up grass at each other, falling down laughing, my heart was heavy thinking of that child’s poor father.
As I scurried to find the dollies requested to play on the deck and watched my children crouch low, arms touching they were so close to each other, and tuck in their “babies” to laundry baskets acting as cribs, my heart was heavy thinking of that child’s poor brother.
How I longed for a second daughter, while pregnant with Alena. For me, yes, but also for Leila. Because I wanted her to have a sister. I wanted her to have a woman’s hand to hold when I am dead and gone.
Women need strong women in their life, I believe that with all of my heart. But I didn’t realize until recently, that strong women aren’t necessarily grown women, and from children we learn so much about our past and future and our deepest fears and expectations. Strong women help you find strength in yourself.
My sister in law was here last week, fresh off the plane from Sudan, where she was working for democracy with an NGO. And my mind was racing with self-depreciating thoughts about what I’ve failed to do thus far in my life, and how I’m not the one changing the world, as I once thought I might be. And then on Tuesday night, I watched as a group of women ran their first 5k and tears sprang to my eyes because they are changed now. Who would have thought?! they euphorically exclaimed after their run. Me. I told them. I knew you could do it all along. And I did, I knew it was in them. Of the nine women who stuck with the clinic, seven of them will be there next week for the first week of the 10k clinic.
Finding strength within yourself is a profound experience that transcends all aspects of your life. And though inner strength comes from the individual, I think, in some way, I may have helped that group of women find it themselves. And my, what a wonderful feeling it is.