“They called me a crybaby, mama,” the young girl wiped her eyes with a sniffle, a forlorn expression adorning her face.
“Oh baby,” said the woman, crouching down beside her darling daughter, “weak boys see tears and think they’ve won. Can I tell you a story?”
The daughter nodded and crawled into her mother’s lap.
Arms wrapped around her baby, the woman pressed a kiss to her fine hair. “Once upon a time there was a man who said horrible things to his partner. He said these horrible things and left her crying alone on the boardwalk by their house. The woman’s tears fell freely but she did not try to stop them. Instead she had a beautiful thought.”
“What was that, mama?” asked the young girl, her tears forgotten.
“She thought to herself, my tears are like this ocean I walk past every day. Salt water that can mean beauty and also pain. Soft enough to nurture and powerful enough to destroy. I am like this ocean I walk past every day. The woman realized how beautiful it is, to hold a balance of softness and power, and realized you cannot have one without the other. Do you know what that means about the man?” When her daughter shook her head, she continued, “this man believes he has power but shows no softness. He was a lost soul who hadn’t yet found balance. He thought she was just a–”
“Crybaby,” the daughter whispered, a slow smile on her face. “But she wasn’t just that mama, was she?”
Mama shook her head with a smile, “She learned to love her tears because they showed her softness. And in that moment she realized she held power, too. Just like you, baby. You are soft and you are powerful. You are like the ocean we go to every summer. And those boys have no idea the force that they reckoned with today.”