Thirty years ago, I became a 15-year-old mom. Even as I type this it seems unbelievable to me. Fifteen? Mom? Where would I get the strength to raise a baby and, well, finish raising myself?
I made a mental pact in those first few days of motherhood: I would be strong and model all the things I would want for this little girl that I was entrusted to raise. I would be a Mom at all times and a friend to her occasionally. I would continue to learn as this would show her that’s what girls do. I would work hard to provide for her and expose her to experiences I had not had myself. I would love her madly and I would tell her the truth.
Shockingly I kept those promises. It was not easy, and at times pretty scary. But always, there she was….watching, inquisitive, demanding. Even as a child myself I felt a deep sea of strength knowing I was her model.
Knowing that I could not fail.
Fast forward—my daughter is still such a source of strength for me. She is a surgeon working many states away. Our daily texts and impromptu conversations keep me on my toes. As much as I want to know about what she is doing, she is still watching, inquisitive, and ummm, demanding.
In loving and growing her, I had to love and grow my own self. Because it is true that what you say has far less impact than what you actually DO!
Her bright light and that of so many vibrant girls of all hues I am lucky enough to have in my life, through family, friendship, or mentoring, give me a kind of strength I imagine my ancestors must have had.
Their spirit, their victories— big and small—and just watching their journey is a like well of strength that keeps me moving on my own path.
Today I realize that even when things seem insurmountable and the world shows ugliness, your very existence can be a beacon for someone.
I choose my attitude, my words, and my ways wisely because I know our daughters are watching.
Nicole Harding is an expert in leadership development, a wife and mother, who is focused on spreading positivity, one conversation, one home project, and one dynamite deal at a time. Check out her latest creation, Brown BabyCakes and follow her on Twitter @RealTalkNic.
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