A love letter for parents:
We can worry over bullies. We can lose sleep over health concerns.
We can hope a boy or girl doesn't break their hearts. We can try to teach them to be the sorts of people who won't want to do the breaking.
Words do hurt, usually more than sticks and stones, and we can tie ourselves into emotional knots of fear and concern for our children -- for them as they grow and experience all of these glories and tragedies of being alive with red, beating hearts -- or we can hold them.
We can make sure they know they're loved.
We can remind them of everything wonderful about them if they've temporarily forgotten. We can teach them how to be gentle and kind to themselves when the world feels harsh.
We can sit silently with them and listen; we can make sure they feel heard.
We can recognize that many of our fears as parents will not become their realities -- fear is so often driven from our own life's battles anyway, and not the ones that they might have to come to face.
We can feel helpless; so much of parenting is placing our hearts outside of our bodies, and then having to trust after that -- trust in the world, and our kids, and in the truth that we are less in control in the larger picture of living than it feels like on many, smaller days of parenting.
We can honor the resilience, strength, courage and light they own, that's so much stronger than the rest.
Sometimes all we can do is love them.
And this has to be enough.