Dear Phoenix and Trinity,
It’s November and the Gratitude Train continues rolling along. I was recently gifted with a reason to pause and think about my life, life’s fragility, and my legacy. You two popped right into mind.
I sincerely hope that you see me as much more than the grouchy den mother who barks at you to focus on your homework and reminds you that picking up your room is how you demonstrate respect for the home you are blessed to have and all that makes that home possible. I hope that your memories are filled with laughter, some tears, more laughter, silliness, honesty, and a deep and abiding love. You are, without question or doubt, the best thing that I have ever done. The road is sometimes bumpy and I occasionally wonder what issues may rear their head later, but I wouldn’t trade one second of the life that got me to this point and got me the two of you. (That may sound a little possessive on my part, but what can I say? You’re mine.)
I want you to know that I wish things for you.
I wish you courage. Live life bravely and boldly. You’ll get nervous or scared. You’ll feel it in your stomach, or your knees, or your throat. Keep going. I have witnessed you both rising to challenges with true and admirable grace.
I wish you creativity. I know the world is full of people who want you to color inside the lines. Right now, your education may seem all about memorization and regurgitation. Creativity must abound. New ideas make the world brighter and you are both full of them.
I wish you equality. Some might apologize. I don’t have lots of money to give you. You’ll soon discover that being female and being black may not put you at the top of the heap. I promise you this though – we are strong, strong stock. Bias may knock you around a bit, but resilience will pull you back up. You will find allies out there that will stand by you to create a world based in equal power and equal rights.
I wish you integrity. Sound moral character and ethics will be your rock. Hold onto that. People will trust that and trust you. Ignore the noise around you, tempting you to comprise on what you know is right. You’ll sleep better, and life really requires deep and peaceful sleep.
I wish you respect. I wish not just that people respect you, but that you respect yourself and others. Honor your worth. Honor your dignity. Honor the worth and dignity of all beings and the resources we have generously been blessed with. Even the little things.
I wish you social justice. The world needs your voice. There are inequalities, but there is also justice. Commit to that. Remind yourself. Tell yourself that justice exists, even when it doesn’t feel that way. Live your life promoting justice so that you can leave the world even a little bit better than it was when you came.
I wish you lots and lots of laughter. Don’t take yourself too seriously. I don’t know who said it, but laughter is the best medicine. Laugh at yourself, laugh with each other, be silly, be weird. Life is too short to be anything but happy.
Love, Mama Cakes
Courage: A Woman’s Place acts bravely and boldly, not withstanding fear.*
Creativity: A Woman’s Place encourages the creation of meaningful new ideas, interpretations, and rules.*
Equality: A Woman’s Place believes each and every one of us must collaborate to create a new society based in equal power and rights.*
Integrity: A Woman’s Place is of sound moral character and adheres to ethical principles.*
Respect: A Woman’s Place is considerate and honors the worth and dignity of all beings and resources.*
Social Justice: A Woman’s Place analyzes structural social inequalities in order to promote justice.*
*excerpts from the Values Statement of A Woman’s Place
Ifeoma U. Aduba