My children are amazing. I am a Bonus-Mom to Jasmin, A step-mom to Joseph,and Mom to Maya and Lorelei. All of my children have big hearts, and are filled with empathy. They want to help and love those around them. I am so blessed!
My daughter, Maya, is 11 yrs old and is in 6th grade. She likes to watch YouTube videos, and was watching one about sneakers. It was titled something along the lines of, $2500 sneakers vs $40 sneakers. At the end of the video the guy asked kids to write to him (a comment) and he would give a pair of the $2500 sneakers to someone he felt was deserving.
Maya wrote him. You have to understand, my kids are not kids that get everything they want. Last summer they got to a week long summer camp for the first time, and it was only a half day thing, we don't spend money on activity after activity. Sports are rare. New clothes that are not hand-me-downs are rare. I went through a divorce, was a single mom, then remarried a man who has also suffered through a divorce. Finances are tight. They don't get the biggest, shiniest, and best of everything. They get what we can afford. I always put my kids needs first, so they are always cleanly clothed, and well fed.
As I was saying... Maya wrote him in his comment section. She told him that she would really like a pair of those sneakers, not for herself, but for her mother. She went on to explain that I had been facing health issues and having multiple surgeries, and she didn't have money herself to surprise me, but if the shoes were sent they would be a surprise for me. She stated that she thinks I would be happy with such a surprise, and maybe the shoes would lift my spirits. She was a little girl begging for a chance to gift her mother with something she knew her mother could not afford, and even if she could, would never buy for herself.
This little girl could have asked for a pair for herself, but she asked for a pair for me, her mom. Let me explain what took place. You see, I monitor Maya's YouTube account, but hadn't been quite on top of it for a week. Maya does not know how often I check, and she knows she has to behave on the internet, and at any given moment her mom or Poppy (step-dad) will check what she has been up to. So, after Maya posted the comment of wanting the shoes for her mother she was then facing a week worth of replies from other people on YouTube before I saw because I had been so busy that I had neglected to snoop on her sooner.
I took Maya shopping for dress shoes during that week, knowing her chorus concert was in a few days, and knowing that her old shoes no longer fit. When we were at the store Maya kept saying, "Are you sure, Mommy? You aren't working right now, and you don't have to spend the money on me. I can wear my black boots. You need new clothes more." And I continued to reassure her that she should be getting new shoes, and not to worry about me. She thanked me with the biggest smile, hugs, and gratitude at the end of our shopping trip. Little did I know, my sweet, innocent child was holding a secret that was causing her pain.
The next day I did a "computer check" while she was at school and checked out her YouTube account. She had a few alerts. Maya's comment about wanting the sneakers for her sick mom was definitely noticed by other kids and teens on YouTube, and they were not kind. They all bashed Maya, telling her that her mom was an adult and should go and buy her own sneakers. They told Maya that she was lying, that her mom didn't have surgeries, and that her mom was fine. They stated one mean comment after another. Poor Maya then responded to their comments stating that I did have a recent surgery and it had something to do with my intestines. Maya went on to say that she was only 11 yrs old and did not know all of the details, but that her mom went to the Emergency Department frequently, and had a bunch of surgeries recently, and was now home from work. Maya kept defending herself time and time again. People said, "The shoes are mine" and then told Maya how she could "go fly a kite," basically.
One person even told Maya that tons of people die every single day, so no one cares. No one cares why she would wanted the shoes, and no one would care if her mother died. My heart broke for my child. How could another child be so cruel to anyone? Who was raising this child to bash another child's dreams, and to tell a child that her mother was worthless, that the death of her mother would not matter. Death wasn't something my children thought about before, but now my daughter was questioning whether she would lose me. I signed on to YouTube, I defended Maya. I told everyone how special my daughter is for thinking about some one else first. I explained that Maya was extremely truthful, and that they were all cruel. I then had a talk with Maya....
I had to tell Maya to ignore the hatred and the online bullying. I told her not to respond any further to anyone on that thread, that she need not defend herself further, as we know the truth, and none of their words mattered in our real life. Joe and I told her how much we love her. We told her how proud we are of her.
Maya is an amazing little girl, getting High Honor Roll and always trying her best, even when faced with stress such as her parents' divorce, moving to a new town and school, and a mom with health concerns. It has not been easy for my kids. Maya keeps a sunny disposition through it all. She is so genuine and caring. When Maya smiles, her dimples get so deep that you just want to snuggle those cheeks, and you cannot help but smile too.
The fact that people are trying to break her makes me very upset. I must raise her to be strong, but not to lose her empathy for others. I am Raising three Wonder Women, and one Super Man. I teach them strength emotionally, and through fun physical activities, like Tough Mudder. More important, I am teaching them to LOVE with their whole heart, because this is true strength.
In raising my Maya as a Wonder Woman, I am teaching her to be sweet, yet strong. I want her to always hold on to a piece of that innocent side. People often tell me that I still seem innocent, or even choose to call me naive, though I am not. That innocent side will remain important throughout her life. It will make people feel safe, as she will seem approachable, and will shine a light that will draw others closer when they want to escape the dark. People will want to know more about that light, and she can show them how God has worked in her life, and how he works through her.
Maya's strength will not just show physically. Maya has already begun to turn the other cheek and walk away. Maya is learning that not everyone's opinion matters, and that she is stronger than words. When she is faced with an obstacle, in life or in Tough Mudder, her job is to conquer that obstacle. She can, and she will. She must not quit or back down. Someday, she will make every one of her dreams a reality.
While Maya is being sweet, and strong, her job is also to be caring and to build others up. This is what will make her a true Wonder Woman. As Maya is climbing and reaching her goals, and conquering obstacles, she will not be leaving others face down in her dust. No, Maya will be building steps for them to climb along beside her. Maya will be educating others in how to do what she has already accomplished. Maya will teach. Maya will Lead. Maya will succeed and help others do the same.
I am Raising Wonder Woman. I am her Mommy...