I had never heard of Jack Layton before this morning. Turns out, he was kind of a big deal. And certainly the real deal. Jack Layton was a Canadian pol and leader of the Official Opposition and the New Democratic Party. But this is not a civics lesson, folks.
This morning, after his death had been confirmed, his surviving family released a letter he had written to the Canadian public just two days ago. It’s beautiful and well, he says it best. Aside from the fact that he is clearly a civil human being, one I wish our own politicians would emulate, the letter spoke to me as a mom.
His love letter to Canada ends with this:
“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”
If that is not a call to arms of motherhood, one I wish I had written myself, I don’t know what is. Swap out “my friends” for “moms” and be inspired.
When we were going through cancer treatment with our daughter, I started clinging to the phrase, “Choose hope.” It was a conscious choice, every day, to hope and imagine that our dear girl could outlast the beast that was having its way with her. Later, when we knew Donna surviving her cancer was no longer a hope we could hope for, we hoped for other things: to not be bitter, to not burden Mary Tyler Son with our grief, to parent more children. Hope had become a way of life.
And I know it sounds pie in the sky, head in the sand, but it’s not. To have hope, I learned, is the only way I can wake up every day. Hope is better than fear. Trust me on this one. Love is better than anger. Our kids know this. And we know this too, even when we’re seeing red after they do something so completely stupid or frustrating or asinine that we’re ready to ship them to boarding school (And yes, there is a boarding school for toddlers, two in fact: PBS Sprout and Nick Jr.). And finally, optimism is better than despair. Duh.
Mr. Layton’s Ode to Canada was just the pep talk I needed. Mary Tyler Son is embracing being two. He can be tiresome and tiring. My dear girl is still dead. Every day. Some days, it is harder to choose hope than others. Today, reading Mr. Layton’s words, it was easy. So I will say to you what Mr. Layton, may he rest in peace, said to all of Canada this morning:
Moms, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.
And we can. Seriously. We can.