Nothing you become will disappoint me; I have no preconception that I’d like to see you be or do. I have no desire to foresee you, only to discover you. You cannot disappoint me. ~Mary Haskell
In the library last week, I parted the covers of a Naomi Aldort book to find this quote. It moved me so deeply that I stood motionless amongst the other library patrons, riveted in my tracks. It’s a beautiful declaration of acceptance and love, one that is so profound in its simplicity. It’s exactly what I hope to impart to my son as his mother.
Over the weekend our neighborhood hosted St. Louis’ annual Pride festival. The festival’s theme this year was Be You. Under Sunday afternoon’s broiling sun, we squeezed in, shoulder-to-shoulder with other excited festival-goers along the parade route, and clapped and sang and cheered for what there can never be too much of in this world: acceptance and authenticity.
What I remembered as I celebrated acceptance and authenticity this past weekend is this: Our children are unique little creatures. We are constructing their confidence and sense of self-worth every day. It is often ridiculously easy to get caught up in what parenting media tells us our children need to be “the best” in life. “Best” is subjective, frankly. And, ultimately, “best” will be up to our children. But for now, when we honor their communication, when we respond to their cries, when we feed on demand with love, when we wear them close, and when we use gentle discipline approaches, we are surrounding them in another message so profound in its simplicity: You matter.
And I full-heartedly believe that an adulthood filled with Be You is grounded in a childhood filled with You Matter.
I will consider it my most tremendous success in motherhood that my son feels valued and empowered enough to simply be himself, to walk proudly and confidently in this world, no matter what the smallest minds in this universe may think of him.
Be You, my lovely child, whatever that looks and feels like. I have no preconception of you. I am so eager to discover you. To support you. My love is unyielding and boundless, kid.
Rhianna feels her pride and admiration for her 18 month old son swell a little every day. She loves her rainbow-bedecked St. Louis neighborhood a little more every day, too.