Thursday, March 12, 2020

Polar Bears

Several weeks ago, my husband picked my daughter up from school and asked her how her day was. She replied, “Terrible!” Surprised, he dug a little to better understand what was so terrible. She told him she’d explain when we were all home together.

Without warning of that interaction, I got home and saw my daughter lying on the couch looking exhausted. I asked her; “Nora, are you ok?”

She sat up. Slowly. And announced that she could now explain why her day was terrible.

She then began to educate us on the danger the polar bears of the world are experiencing through climate change. She had tears in her eyes as she asked me what we could do.

We talked about the ways our family could make a difference and set out to do so. She reminded her brother constantly that leaving the lights on when we weren’t in a room would hurt the polar bears. I even caught her telling a character in a movie that their situation wasn’t “as bad as the polar bears'!”

This girl was feeling this pain deeply.

A few weeks later as the snow began to melt outside our Iowa windows Nora showed up in the bathroom announcing there was an emergency outside. We had litter in our yard. Stuck under the melting snow and what would this do to the polar bears?!?

I cannot make this stuff up.

***

A few days ago, I completely lost control of all my emotions. Alone in my car.

You see, this year, #internationalwomensday came and went. I was angry on that day, so I didn’t really acknowledge it.

But, a few days ago, I was listening to Glennon Doyle’s new book alone in my car and couldn’t believe my ears when a chapter in her book told an identical story about her daughter. In kindergarten. Learning about the polar bears.

It hit me. All at once. The devastation and lethargy I had been feeling over the last few weeks had run deep. I’m watching my daughter grow into herself and admittedly have had the urge to tame her into what we think a woman should be. I have been guilty of taming. Because I see all around us that untamed is not yet accepted by the masses.

Me. Someone who believes fiercely in women. Someone who has been angry for days as I watch our choices dwindle for the next leader of this nation to one of three men over the age of 75.

We must go against all our instincts to tame these girls who learn about the world and feel deeply the injustice. We must let them forge their own paths as untamed girls who turn into deeply feeling women who won’t abide by the old rules. If we can do this job, if we can raise enough girls into women who are unapologetically sensitive to the world’s issues, maybe just maybe, we can shock this system we’ve created.

Because, we need them!

"First, it’s the polar bears.

Then, it’s us."

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