The power to knock us down.
To make us feel small.
Words can hurt and words can also make us glow.
Two simple words "I'm sorry" can be what brings us back from the brink of despair.
And a message like "your outfit looks great today!" can get you through the rest of yours.
Sometimes the spoken word seems harsher than the written word.
Because a tone and an in-your-face assault usually accompanies those words.
And while you are still physically standing, inside you have fallen to your knees.
Unable to stand back up.
In our current times, online typed words can pack a punch as well.
Online bullying is a whole new assault on our psyche.
Everyday someone gets text punched.
Which is why my kids don't have a cell phone.
As an adult, and now as a parent, I do really, REALLY try to watch my mouth.
I do admit that I have a potty mouth.
And I swear around my kids.
Which is completely different than swearing AT my kids.
I don't do that.
And I'm honest with them.
We have been honest ever since Zoe got sick.
We didn't hide from her what was happening to her.
From day one, we tried to explain what cancer was.
Because 5 years old have zero concept of cancer and sickness.
We explained why she had to get sedated and have needles stuck into her spine.
Why she had to have a mask screwed over her face and why she had to lay motionless on a table for radiation.
And so when she told her sister this morning "Mom doesn't care when I'm sick" I felt as if she had slapped me, spit on me, and then kicked my dog.
Even to an almost 45 year old.
Here's why she said this...
yesterday she had some intestinal distress.
Also known as diarrhea.
But she was romping it up with her sister during the day, playing, ate soup for dinner, went promptly to sleep at bedtime, slept through the night, and never had a fever.
When I told her to get up and get ready for school she moseyed to the kitchen table.
And looked like she usually does on a school day morning.
Which is like she would rather go back to bed.
We had a discussion about how she felt.
She said she still felt bad.
I said she looked okay.
I asked her if she was going to school.
She shrugged her tween shoulders.
She went back to her room.
I asked her sister to go see what she was doing.
And that's when her sister came back with her message.
That I didn't care.
My husband and I both just looked at each other.
And gave a big sigh.
I said "well, I guess I should call school to say she's not coming. I don't want Z to call DCFS on us."
And when I had her sister's school lunch made and had her shuttled off to the bus, I made my way to Zoe's bed.
And told her that what she had said was a bit bold.
Because I don't want her to grow up thinking it's okay to say hurtful things and not realize how powerful those words are.
I get on her case if she tells her sister she's stupid and I told her how it wasn't fair to say "mom doesn't care when I'm sick."
Not in this house.
Sometimes grown ups in my life say hurtful things to me and they could care less that they've hurt me.
That's probably their goal.
But I don't want my daughters to use words to hurt.
Sometimes silence is even worse than hurtful words.
I also have adults in my life whose silence in my life is more of a lion's roar in my ear than they realize.
Being a parent is the hardest job I've ever had.
I'm not perfect.
But I try to teach my kids that each thing we say to one another has power.
And I want to accentuate the positive.
So, if someone says something hurtful, you're going to get called out on it.
Because if you don't realize that you've hurt someone else, the words have the chance to repeat themselves.
And it's a chance for ALL of us to stop.
And think about each other's feelings.
Because kids don't think moms have feelings.
And most moms get walked on.
Moms willingly take those soles tromping on our backs.
But every once in a while, we need to get off of the floor and remember that we are raising the future.