I have been staring at this screen for what feels like hours trying to pick a memory from my childhood. There is so much that I can choose from as I was a sweetly mischievous child and a “misunderstood” and rebellious teenager. I remember doing things like climbing deep in the tree in our front yard or hiding in the woods behind and watching my mom searching frantically for me. I remember giving myself a hair cut in preschool and ripping my lace cowboy skirt to shreds as I tried to be the schoolyard Olympian. I remember arguments with my parents about life not being fair and trying to be cool. Needless to say, I am my own reason for being terrified to have a daughter because I believe that you reap what you sew. And my Lord, do I have a lot of reaping to do.
I also remember Saturday mornings spent dancing to old school music with my daddy and shopping days with my mom. I remember that best of all they were there. My parents never missed a game, a piano recital, a play, a parent teacher night, or a pageant all the way through college. They made it a point to be present. They made it a point to teach me the importance of taking pride in who I was.
For the sake of time I won’t go into great detail about what happened, but let’s just say in middle school I did something stupid and my coach made me call Good Shepherd hospital and tell my mom. I was mortified because I didn’t think that what I did was that bad, but as soon as that mean old substitute decided to escort me to the locker room and my “boo” got off without a word said to him, I knew I needed to say a quick prayer and get right with the Lord just in case. Lol. I mean out of everyone who was giving their “soul mate” an awkward middle school kiss goodbye, why was I the only one who got caught. That last statement is exhibit A, out of articles A-Z, as to why I am terrified to have a daughter.
I remember my mom being flabbergasted and in disbelief as she asked me repeatedly “What were you thinking?”. I couldn’t answer and was embarrassed as my teammates eyes seemed to follow my every move while I gathered my things. My head was almost as low as my ankles as I got into the car. You see, even though I mentioned earlier, that I kept my parents on their toes, that was all home stuff. I never got in trouble in public. I knew better than to shame my parents with my behavior away from home.
That night, our house was something out of the movie “A Christmas Story” as my sister sobbed believing that my daddy would surely end my life.. and I sobbed because I knew she was probably right. lol.
Needless to say, I lived to face another day as my daddy gave me the shortest and strangest scolding to date as he asked and answered his own questions of my reason for pulling such a stunt. It must have been because I was stupid and therein I had to confess that I was stupid. Lord, I wish I could reenact it for you. He was so undone but after that moment, he let it go and later, we watched tv on the couch together.
The next day, instead of being grateful to be alive, I continued to sob as I felt too ashamed to return to school. I sunk down into the carseat and wished with all of my might that I could just stay home or even better disappear. It was at this moment my mom taught me one of my most valuable lessons.
She said, “Alicia, hold your head up. Yesterday, is over. You will not go to school this day and allow those people to see crying. Everybody makes mistakes. Today you are going to dry your face lift up your head and walk onto this campus with your head high. You can’t keep crying about yesterday. Do you hear me? Hold your head up. It’s over.”
It was at this moment, my mom taught me about forgiving myself and moving forward. In her own words, she was telling me not to let others dictate how I saw myself and how I felt about myself. In between my mothers words, I felt her forgiveness and her validation that I was loved and valued and in that moment, my mother showed me the grace that Christ gives us all. So instead of trudging across school, I smiled and brushed off each teasing statement I received that day. I didn’t need their approval. I had a mother and a father’s love. It was my first lesson on owning and loving all of myself unapologetically through the lens of unconditional love.