Raising My Strong, Brave Girl

I had a memory tonight – I remember the night I decided I was done being pregnant; I wanted it to be over and I wanted to meet my girl. It was the night before her due date and I decided to dance. I created an M.I.A. Pandora station and I dancedyes, really, really danced!

Now I love to dance, I’ve always had to find an outlet for this in some way, shape, or form. However, at almost forty weeks pregnant, it had been a VERY long time since I had let loose and danced my heart out. The night before her due date though, I wasn’t scared anymore. We had made it past all the crucial developmental points, made it through all playing it safe days, and I was free to move without fear or restraint – so I did!

I was home alone, there were no neighbors living below me at the time – thank god for their sake – and so I was free to let myself go a bit crazy. It was liberating, exhilarating, and it worked. My contractions started later that evening. She was not born the next day, no she is way too strong willed for that. She made her appearance, screaming might I add, two days later.

I chucked to myself tonight when I realized that of all the music I could have danced to, I chose M.I.A. – one strong willed, free spirited, and yes, crazy chick. Not that Madison will be listening to her anytime soon but …

I realize time and again, that as challenging as it can be to raise my determined little girl, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am surrounding her with the understanding that she is powerful, capable, and her voice matters. When she was very tiny, I used to whisper to her, “You are a Strong, Brave Girl Madison Elise.”

To this day this is something that I remind her of – in fact while she was throwing her body on the floor the other day because she was upset, I told her, “Nope, we’re not drama queens Madi. We’re Strong, Brave girls. We don’t throw fits to get our way.” I am wholeheartedly, subconsciously and consciously, sending her a message of strength and determination.

It’s not about pretty, it’s not about fair. It’s about believing in yourself, believing you are capable, and being brave even when you don’t feel as if you are strong or capable.

Not long ago, I heard myself saying, “I can’t” to Madi and around her. I realized that if I want her to believe she can, I have to change the way I think and speak. Instead now, we say, “I am not sure how to do it, but I can learn how.” One of my proudest moments happened while we were watching a group of construction workers on a job site. Madi said to me, “I am sure I will see a girl worker too Mama.” In her mind, there’s no I can’t, there’s only everyone can. I passed a construction sight today and there was a woman, hard hat and all, working on a project. It took everything within me to not stop and take a picture like a crazy person just so I could show Madi that she was right!

The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.

We can speak life, strength, and the ability to dream big into our children’s lives and into the lives of all those around us. Let’s promote strength, bravery, courage, love, joy, and yes even a little bit of crazy. The world needs lots more “I cans,” because that’s where innovation begins and we are certainly in need of that!

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