strong as a mother

Yesterday I wore a t-shirt that read “Strong as a Mother.” I wanted the whole world to read it but the day was chilly. I slipped on a bright, mustard-toned sweater over my bold, grey t-shirt. Now no one could read these words but I still knew they were there. All day my swagger lived in that t-shirt, a secret no one knew but me. 

I’m not good at keeping secrets, my own or anyone else’s. But when I sat in the Badass Mama’s circle Monday night, I knew I’d keep every secret shared there. It was the first evening meeting of our group, a few weeks after our opening retreat. Even though we are still getting to know each other, Jenni is showing us how to make a sacred space with each other.

When I think of the lives shared in this group of eight women, my tongue dances in my mouth. I want to tell people I know about these women. But I don’t. Keeping these secrets feels right, even though I still hear the chant I sung on the playground so long ago:

Secrets are lies
and lies are sins
and when you get to heaven
they won’t let you in!

Heaven is a group of eight women slowly getting to know each other as they sit in a circle at Jenni’s home. Surrounded by her white walls and sitting on her white furniture, we talk about the goals we set at the retreat. Are we working on our weekly task list so we can meet our 12-week goals? Are we checking in with one person about our weekly goals? Wait, how many people have found someone to check in with?

Wait, wait, wait, there’s so much to unpack during our first twice-a-month evening meeting. We dive deeply into the idea of a life vision in a way that feels new. Even for me, someone that has always wanted to be a writer and actually is now a writer, this is new. Jenni takes us through a writing exercise that has me thinking about my work in this world, in this lifetime.

This sounds so heady. So earnest. We share big thorny feelings without giving each other advice. When Jenni brings up the idea of turning toward a problem with someone side by side, rather than facing off with the problem between you, my whole body says yes. This is the feeling I am already starting to feel within the Badass Mama group: these women are coming alongside me in support.

This heady, earnest tone is surely there, but it’s surrounded by giggling. Actual giggling. One person started to giggle and then another and another and another and we sound like one of the best sounds on this great green planet of ours. Shared tee-hees, laced giggling and much mirth surrounds us as the sky outside Jenni’s windows grows dark.

We build a support group minute by minute. We write secrets in our journal and sometimes we share these secrets. I carry these secrets with me and I wear them like the message I carried underneath my sweater all day yesterday.

When I think of a story shared by a Badass Mama at our circle, I breathe my warm breath on her life and send her a beat from my one green heart. I’m strong as a mother holding up another strong mother with not one word uttered. I’m pretty sure she hears my heartbeat even if it comes to her as the cold, chilly fall wind that wraps around her during her daily walk. I wear my shirt inside my sweater as a reminder of my own super power that links up to mothers everywhere. Strong as a mother holding up this one good green earth.

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