Sticks & Stones May Break My Bones, But Words Will Never DEFINE Me by Melissa Rosella

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I scooped Hope from school. I get excited when I pick her up. I love sneaking into the gate to see her playing when she does not know I’m watching. Her feet are always covered in wet sand.  She makes lots & lots of messes & I love it. I hope she never stops making big huge messes in this big wide world.

Was holding James this particular afternoon. I plopped him down & watched him run to Hope with his big huge smile. Oh how he loves her so. He’s always so  pleased to see her. They are best friends, most of the time. Truly enjoy watching them play together. He calls her “Hopi.” Makes me so happy.

We make our way to the car & Hope asks if she can buckle James in & when he agrees, she says he’ll receive his toy plane upon his compliance. She’s becoming maternal right in front of my eyes. I can’t believe she’s mine & I can’t believe James is either.

Typically, after Hope buckles J in & she gets nestled into her car seat, the backseat shenanigans start. It’s silly, really, but I’m sure typical. Ya know, typical sibling rivalry.

Name calling is something that happens all too often. I’m taken back to my tough freshman year of high school. I got called “n—– lips,” “loudmouth,” & “motormouth Mel.”

Thankful for these lips, as they are the very lips that so lovingly kiss my children multiple times a day. I like my lips, so there. Damn bullies.

So, as you can imagine, I am really hard on my kids when I start to hear names being called. I shut that shit down as fast as possible. My kids will not be the bullies. My kids, if I have anything to say, will be the ones that stand up for others & be the brave bystanders to those being bullied. I can only hope that they listen to my teachings & apply them.

Kindness is so incredibly important. I always hope my kids are the kind ones. They can be the messy or dirty ones, the mismatched, and the loudest. Kindness is Huge! Kind & assertive & brave & humble. I hope they are givers, but not overly giving.

On this particular day, James called Hope a baby. She started to get really upset & immediately defended herself.

“I am not. I’m not a baby, James. I am not a baby!”

I asked her if she truly believed the words James was saying were true & she loudly refuted them.

I then asked her that if she knew the words he was saying were not true, why was she allowing them to hurt her so much? She stopped & looked at me for a moment.

Then she said, “He just keeps saying it again & again.”

& I said, “Hope, people are going to say things to you that are not true, that are hurtful,  & that are downright mean, & you, sweet one, are going to have to decide to take it in as your truth, or walk away & remember who you are.”

I told her about me being bullied in school. I told her that I know who I am & I know who I am not. Told her to find the friends that make her feel her best & to let go of the rest.

I absolutely must take my own advice to heart & remember who I am & who I am not.

May you always know that you can choose to listen to the naysayers or you can walk away and find your kind friend tribe.

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