Like most mothers I know, I haven’t exactly been keeping up with Molly’s baby book. (Right? No one else does this right away, either, right?!) There is a page in the book where Jim and I can write about our hopes and dreams for Molly. I have given this page a lot of thought, because although I do just want her to be happy, I want so much more for her. I want her to be smart, beautiful, and athletic. I want her to be creative. I want her to find someone who loves her as much as her father loves me. I want her to have a good work ethic, a good sense of humor, and humility. But mostly, I want her to be compassionate and empathetic.
I would like to say that having a baby has made me a softie, but in reality, I have always been a little quick to cry at commercials, Hallmark cards, and strangers’ situations. Unfortunately, even watching the news lately has evoked a lot of emotion in me. Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past week, you are aware of the critical situation in Haiti. I simply cannot fathom this catastrophe.
Having Molly has made me rethink what is important. Rethink what my priorities are. In the aftermath of the crisis in Haiti, I have been pondering and discussing with friends and family what we can do to help. I am amazed at the response to the text campaign that has already raised $16 million. So simple, yet an effective way to make an impact. At our monthly girls’ dinner this weekend, Andrea suggested that we create relief kits for victims of the earthquake. And if you love Etsy, check out this great post today about how you can help by shopping!
After watching The Blind Side last weekend, I have had multiple conversations (with Andrea in the parking lot and with Sarah and Lauren over a glass of wine) about how we feel like we don’t do enough to help. But we do what we can. By collecting formula and blankets for the Salvation Army, assembling relief kits for victims of disasters, donating to the local food pantry, and contributing $10 at a time to cancer research or the Red Cross, we are collectively doing a lot. We are setting examples for our children and inspiring our friends. We are learning and teaching and sharing compassion for the human race. At yoga this afternoon, Merritt talked about the oh-so familiar serenity prayer, about accepting the things we cannot change. But then she threw me a curveball, and said we can “change the things which we cannot accept.”
So, in thinking about how to answer the question about what can I do…I realized that I can teach Molly tolerance and acceptance and compassion. I can teach her to stand up for herself and her friends and her family, and to recognize what is right and wrong. I can teach her to change the things that she cannot accept, whether it’s homelessness, hunger, abuse, or poverty. I may have no control over Molly’s athleticism or her ability to solve a physics problem, and I certainly can’t teach her to be creative (although I will pay for art or music classes so someone else can teach her), but I can teach her compassion and empathy. I can teach her to do things, small things, that will make this world a better place.
(thanks, beverly maynor photography, for this sweet picture)
I know that my daughter is capable of so much. She has already changed my life in such a significant way.
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