As an American, a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a co-worker, a teacher, a neighbor and any other hat I may find myself wearing, I have to believe better days are coming our way. I know I’m often told not to rush the moments, as kids grow up so fast, but this past year has also taught me to look ahead, look to what can be, and to stay hopeful.
Thankfully, Justin Timberlake and Ant Clemons Jr. decided to write a literal anthem for me and anyone else feeling a need to look ahead. I’m not musically inclined (I’d never let you hear me belt this out, though you may see me sing it in my car), let me fill you in on my “boyfriend’s” wisdom…
There’s a light at the end of the tunnel
Keep your eyes on the road ahead
But if you’re feeling lost in the night
It’s okay to cry
Just as long as you hold your head
If anyone made it through 2020 without shedding a tear for lives lost or turned upside down, missed ceremonies and sports and live music and events, I’d like to know your secret. But for me, I feel these first words deeply. IT’S OKAY TO CRY. It is. I know this. But yes – these tears flow, often and sometimes they seem they don’t stop. But, I’m finally feeling I can see how we start to move forward. Forward to better days.
I know you’ve been kicked down
Slept on, let down, faith gone
Waited for too long for somethin’ to lean on (lean on)
You feel weak, just be strong (ooh)
Deep breath, stay calm
If you just press on, press on, press on
Holding our babies tight, hugging them as they sleep on our chests or in our laps – this year I’ve tried my best to take in the moments of peace and love when I can drown out the rest of the world. The things that keep me up at night and make me feel tired and useless, and insignificantly able to change them, they’ve just been SO HEAVY. I hope to look back on this past year and feel resilient and strong, feeling the need now to simply remind myself to breathe, manage the drama in the moment and move on to the better days. The future days. The days that will allow us to feel normal again.
I know you feel left out and stepped on
Keep goin’, keep goin’
Shine bright, don’t dim yours for no one
Keep goin’ higher, and higher and higher and higher
(Because there’s better)
Better days, better days are comin’ (better days)
Mamas, I hope you’re feeling as I am now. That we’ve made it this long with masks, and distancing, and missed moments and memories, that we can hang in just a bit longer. Keep going – we’ve got this. Women have held the weight of the world literally for generations – we can do this. These better days are going to be here before we know it – I have to believe this.
But I also know I’m a part of making them such. I’m looking for how I can make things in my house, at my work, in my community better, so even if things take a turn, or we experience a surprise again in the future, we’ll never get to the place we’ve been in 2020 (and even early 2021). Better days mean better relationships, better structures and systems and laws, better support and well-being for us all. I’m here, willing to do this work, and wanting to raise my kids to expect this from the grown-ups they’re surrounded by. Join me, please, so we can all enjoy better days – the sooner the better.