Hasn’t started to make sense of the world yet but thinks it’s beautiful all the same. -Story People
I love this picture of Chanelle. I snapped it quickly while we were sitting in the living room and didn’t think much about it. When I came to it later I was struck by the innocence captured in the image. The way her hair falls over her face, the way her hands are delicately wraped around a tiny toy, and the way the light illuminates her little girlness. Maybe it’s because I’m her Mom, but I look at this picture and I see the beauty of her innocence while at the same time, seeing the young woman she will be one day.
Today, Chanelle is captivated by a flower, intrigued by a worm, and entertained by a wooden toy. She looks in the mirror and she sees one thing. . . Chanelle. She looks at others and sees only goodness. There are no comparisons. There are no judgements. Today, she believes she can do anything. Today, she doesn’t doubt herself. Today, being Chanelle is enough.
The questions reverberate from deep within me: how can she preserve this? How can I help her preserve this?
This afternoon I sat with women who, I imagine, were once very much like Chanelle. Women who hoped, dreamed, believed, and pursued. Somewhere along the road, though, they lost it. Today, these women uttered words like. . . I don’t know how to dream and I feel worthless and I can’t hope anymore and I have no purpose.
What happened? What happened from there to here that innocence was lost? What happened along the way that so many lose sight of all that they were born to be? I look at my little girl and I know we were never meant to say such things. I look at Chanelle and I know that I know that I know we were made for more. We were all made for more. . .
I am not naive enough to believe that any of my children will make it through this world without their fair share of trials. That’s inevitable, I know. I guess I’m really wondering if it is possible for them to preserve what I see so clearly in this picture. Is it possible that they might hold on to value the simple beauty of life? Will they remain comfortable in their own skin? Can first things remain first?
Oh my. I hope so. I refuse to believe that self doubt, insecurity, and heartache are a rite of passage. I have to believe in something more. As a Mom of three, I sit here now and wonder about my role. How might I help them preserve the beauty, simplicity, and innocence that is so evident right now? Is it possible?
Everything in me screams that it has to be. The possibilities are endless for all of us. . .
I said & she said, No,
we’re here to begin it
& then she turned &
opened her arms
& everywhere I could see,
there were people,
like bright birds, calling
with a thousand voices
& suddenly I understood.
Here is where it begins.
With all of us, together
giving our daughters
a world woth loving
for a lifetime to come.