Tag Archives: Emily June

Inherent Worth & Dignity

Unitarian Universalists promote seven principles.  The first principle is the inherent worth and dignity of every person.  This week I was reminded that my eight year old is a far superior Unitarian Universalist than I may ever be.  Because after she told me what happened to her on the school bus I was really struggling to see the inherent worth and dignity in one particular little girl.

She was crying when she came up to the front door so it took me a short while to get an answer.  “Did something happen at school, Em?”

“Mom, she said I am a bad person.  She said I can’t be a Girl Scout if I don’t believe in God. She said if I don’t have God in my heart than I have the devil in my heart.”

I wrapped my arms around her tightly while she caught her breath.  And the words, the words that came tumbling from her lips next made me more proud than I have perhaps ever been. “I told them that I am a Unitarian.  And that I do go to a church actually. And that my church says you can believe in whatever you want.  I am a good person.  I am.  How could that God want to punish me when I didn’t even say anything mean when they were telling me that I was a bad person?”

The part of me that wants to start talking and never stop when I don’t know what to say exactly worked hard to stay quiet.  The less I said the more she spoke and the more I realized I needed to say nothing.

“The Girl Scout pledge says God but so does the Pledge of Allegiance. You don’t have to believe in God to be an American so I don’t think you do to be a Girl Scout.”

I kept quiet.  I was waiting for the shame, for the doubt, for the “what if they are right, Mom?”

“There is only one thing that I wish was different about our church.  I wish it wasn’t in the woods.  It’s kind of hiding and if we were right next to the road more people would know about us and more people would come because I bet a lot of people actually think that it is okay to believe whatever you want and just be a good person.”

She knows.  She knows she is a good person.  And it doesn’t matter what the Girl Scouts think.  Or a kid on the bus.  Or God.  She just knows.

In the last year I have thought frequently about our first principle as it applies to others.  I think about it in the moments that I try to apply my reality to another person and I see them coming up short.  I remind myself that they are their own person, they live their own reality, they have their own inherent worth and dignity.  It never dawned on me that if you believe in your heart of hearts in your own worth, in your own dignity, if you do not have self-doubt – it is so much easier not to condemn others.

My sweet Emily June, you have taught me more in your eight years than I may ever teach you.  This can’t be your first rodeo, kid.

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37th Birthday: Part 2

The late morning became the afternoon quickly.  Birthday number 37 was shaping up nicely. Em came home from school and she set to work preparing for dinner.

She practiced waiting tables.  20130508-080023.jpgShe offered to make me a “fancy drink” but I did some soul searching and decided that even if the baby is asleep in your lap that is not a good enough reason to teach your 7-year-old how to make a gin and tonic.  20130508-080012.jpgMQD came home and brought sushi from him (who knew there is a Kelly roll?) and we opted to play outside for a bit before we ate dinner. 

I had some time with my mini-me – 20130508-080053.jpgAnd MQD spent some time with his. 20130508-080033.jpgEm sweetly offered to chase Lucy around for a bit so MQD could make faces at me while I tried to take a picture of him.20130508-080046.jpgEventually it was time for dinner.  I put my phone away (gasp) so my last picture for a while was a quick snap of our menus. (On the inside they said only: sushi. Em came to the table and asked us what we would like and rolled her eyes as we opened the menu and hemmed and hawed before selecting “the sushi.” Note the custom menus – “Mom likes the beach and Dad likes monsters.”)20130508-080059.jpgWe had sushi and red velvet cake from the little bakery in town. We had sushi on our honeymoon for my birthday.  We had red velvet cupcakes at our wedding and MQD sweetly ordered a small one to be delivered to our room as we celebrated my birthday with champagne in the middle of the afternoon.   I felt special the entire time MQD and I were on our honeymoon.  The intoxicating combination of the “just married” glow and the chance to spend time just the two of us for the very first time created an atmosphere that we might never truly recreate.  But for me, on my birthday, MQD tries.

When I was a little girl your birthday was really special.  There was the dinner that you selected and at least one small gift that surprised you.  It wasn’t surprising because you didn’t know about it  in advance, it was surprising because you couldn’t believe that anyone even knew you wanted it.  I guess I thought that once I was a “grown up” I’d never feel like that again.  I have had awesome birthdays.  I have been to concerts and bars and parties and dinners.  I have been in love, on dates, with my girlfriends.  But not since I left my nuclear family home did I have a birthday like last night.

Last night I had that feeling again (even though I forgot to eat dinner off of the “You are Special today” red plate!) This feeling started while we were playing out in the yard.  But when we sat down to open presents – that’s when this feeling overwhelmed me.

Months ago I was rummaging around in the closet after a couple of glasses of wine.  “What are you looking for?” MQD asked.  “My slippers!!  I can’t relax without my slippers!!!” It was one of those moments that as soon as it happens you know it will become part of your family lore.  MQD has since suggested to me that I “go put on [my] slippers.”  I know what he means.  It has given him a way to suggest to me that I chill the fuck out without making me mad.  Now, that’s something.  As the weather has warmed up and my precious slippers have moved further to the back of the closet in favor of flip-flops I have started to eye the fuzzy flip-flop slipper.

Fuzzy, flip-flop slippers.  Why would you wear flip-flop slippers?  What exactly is the point?  I used to think this.  But a few weeks ago I took a second look at them. 20130508-080018.jpg And last night I reached in to a gift bag and pulled out a pink pair.  Em picked them out herself.  X-large.  Dearfoam, pink and fuzzy.  “How did you know I wanted these?  Now I can relax all summer!!”

There were other things.  My favorite gum.  A Snoopy figurine.  Sunglasses.  Deodorizing shoe balls (Very funny, MQD.  Not the most romantic gift but the poor man does have to share a closet with me.) A perfect birthday card, made just for me!20130508-080105.jpg

But it wasn’t the cake or the sushi or the slippers or the birthday card.  It was that feeling. It was my birthday yesterday.  And I was special all day.

~

Emily June,

Someday you will read all of this. Some of it will horrify you, I am certain.  Some of it will make you laugh.  But I hope these words make you pause.  You and your dad made me feel so special yesterday.  Thank you. Your kindness does not go unnoticed.  In my wedding vows to your dad I said that I knew he was “the one” our first Christmas together.  His gifts to me reflected his efforts at listening, at getting to know me.  And you, my sweet girl, you gave me pink fuzzy flip-flop slippers and all I can do now while I sit back and drink coffee and enjoy their fuzzy pinkness is think “Man, this kid gets me.”  You are growing up.  And I love it. Keep being you.  Because you, you are special every single day.  

xo, Mom 

Join me on Facebook for a few ridiculous videos of the birthday shenanigans!