What I Want Them to Remember

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Their nightstand and bookshelves tell you all you’d need to know. Anne of Green Gables, Ramona, Laura Ingalls Wilder. We have Girls Think of Everything, Rosie Revere Engineer, Not One Damsel in Distress. Harriet Tubman. Helen Keller. Sojourner Truth. Marie Curie. These are their heroes. We go through our Bible with care and find all the strong and caring and dangerous and wild and faithful women lining its pages.

My three daughters? They are strong. Independent. Fully aware they were made in the image of God, the Creator of the universe. There is no limit to what they can try and explore.

On our refrigerator is a magnet saying, “Well behaved women rarely make history.” We encourage them to explore and build and get dirt under their fingernails and marker on their arms. They try and fail and try again. They dance and twirl and laugh and yell. This is our job as a parent. This is what we love to do.

Most days I think we are doing it right. I feel confident they will grow into the strong women God made them to be and I see destiny shimmer in their eyes. We’ve provided the right opportunities and role models. We’ve been introducing them to a rich and diverse history so they can hopefully have the perspective needed to see the detailed tapestry they are a part of both now and in the future.

But.

But I wonder if they’ve been listening to me behind closed doors. If they’ve heard me say something disparaging about myself when I think they are playing in the other room. If my face didn’t hide displeasure when finding something to wear. I wonder if they have noticed how I decline being in pictures when Sophie goes around snapping photos of the family. My goal as a mother is to raise girls who love God, love others, and are brave and here I am hiding from a picture so I don’t have to see myself. I want to accomplish big things; to be someone they can look up to and emulate. I want them to remember me as someone just as strong and brave and daring as the women they grew up reading about.

There’s a Brene Brown quote that keeps rattling around my mind when the house is quiet other than the sound of their sleeping.

Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor—the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences—good and bad. Speaking from our hearts is what I think of as “ordinary courage.”

Ordinary courage.

I don’t have exciting stories to tell my girls about the things I’ve done, but I’m gonna tell my story. I’m going to show them my heart. I’ll be honest about when I hear the mirror whisper lies and I’ll teach them how to listen for truth instead. They will keep hearing me cheer them on, and sometimes I’ll even cheer myself on as well.

And maybe, just maybe, they’ll look back at all the women they admire and they’ll remember their mom had courage.

Brenna D'Ambrosio

Brenna D'Ambrosio

I believe in finding and celebrating the breath of God in the every day, and that sometimes a gentle, simple group of words is the best way to reflect the complex and bold beauty of the world. I believe in the fierce. I believe in a generation of girls and women finding their voice. A generation who are the heroes of their own story, who fight their own battles, and slay their own dragons.
Brenna D'Ambrosio

Latest posts by Brenna D'Ambrosio (see all)

  • Oh, I love this! Thank you. It sings freedom.

    • Jamie, I love you so much. Thank you for the way you constantly encourage.

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  • Gayl Wright

    Brenna, this is beautiful! So full of encouragement. I love it!

    • Thank you, Gayl. Seeing the way your kids love you encourages me when mothering seems hard.

  • Yes, ordinary and daily courage — the heart song that we all need. To know that there is no place or role too small to not be brave in the midst of.

    • I think it’s the daily repetition of it that makes it so hard sometimes, yet so important.

  • pastordt

    Lovely, Brenna. Thank you.

    • Thank you. I’m always so grateful when you read my words.

  • “…but I’m gonna tell my story. I’m going to show them my heart.” Brenna, this makes me think of my own mother, no, she never started a non-proftit, never even travelled abroad, and never saved a whole village or a life, but she saved mine–literally. She was the one who led me to Christ when I was 5 and it’s how she still lives her life: faithfully, steadily, humbly that makes me love her more all the time. I’m sure your girls see the same in you.

    • Rachel, thank you so much for those words. And it’s been great to see all your encouragement around the Mudroom! 🙂

  • Brenna I hear you and see you in these struggles. And yet, can I insert something? For the sheer fact in how you encourage your three beautiful daughters to be brave speaks deeply to me. I have loved this about you for a long time, and how you truly empower Katie, Sophie & Lucy. Your love for them is contagious. I want to love and empower my girls the way you do to your girls. Thank you for encouraging me today.

    • Thank you, Kamille. Knowing we are both fighting the same fight and loving as hard as we can encourages me more than you know.

  • I’ve had this on my mind lately as well. We can be so intentional about what we say to our daughters. What we have them read. But what about the unspoken message we send? A good word today. Thanks!

    • Exactly! Thanks so much for reading!