In nearly twenty years of mothering, there have been countless times that I wondered why God thought that this broken woman should be raising children, times that my best felt wholly inadequate. A mother’s love is great but ultimately imperfect. We guard our children fiercely, trying to shield them from a world we must also prepare them to live in. I do my best to surround my children with beauty and goodness and pray that they will carry it with them always. My heart breaks when I must share the ugly alongside the good. I confess that I sometimes keep my head in the sand.
I’ve been full of both despair and hope lately. Despair settling in on nights I’ve stayed up too late worrying, hope returning in the morning with the sun. I’ve had difficult, heartbreaking conversations, some of them those I avoided for as long as I could. I’ve questioned and second-guessed my words again and again. Am I getting this right? It feels impossible, and my prayers have been full of pleas for help. I’ve tried to be strong but choked on my words more than once, embarrassing the son who’d rather not have to hear these words or witness my sobs. I’ve spent hours writing, each time emailing myself my messy thoughts rather than sharing them. I go back and forth about how little or how much to say. What is truly mine to share?
I am a White woman and the mother of a nearly grown Black son. As a transracial family, we have witnessed and experienced racism while also failing to understand the broader picture. You can know, yet not know. You can see while being blind. You can make excuses for bad behavior because of someone’s story or background and hear other’s stories without truly listening to them. Have I been deaf to a whole world of stories?
In recent weeks, I’ve been saddened and discouraged to see online conversations about racism become increasingly political and less about human hearts and human rights. As a Catholic Christian, my ultimate desire is to live the gospel. I want to love my family and my fellow humans. When there are people hurting, I want to listen and to help. I truly want to know and understand. I am educating myself so that I can arm both myself and my children with the knowledge we need to fight racism and the urge to sweep it under the rug. For those of us raising up this next generation, our most important world-changing work is likely that which we do in our homes each day. I’m carrying that knowledge close to my heart.