I know it’s late in the day, but I didn’t want to miss this opportunity to talk about fearlessness, in connection with the MotherTalk Book Tour for the paperback release of Arianna Huffington’s On Becoming Fearless.
There are many moments that could qualify for fearless ones in my life — striking out on my own for a career in broadcasting when my parents thought I should try for something “safe” like physical therapy, leaving an incredibly dysfunctional and abusive first marriage at a tender age, quitting a good job to go to law school.
But the thing that has been the most fearless, and fearful, in my life was the moment I became a mother.
It wasn’t like the moment most of my friends had — I didn’t carry a child inside me for nine months and then go to the hospital, hoping that the epidural would get there on time.
Mr. PunditMom and I adopted our wonderful PunditGirl from China.
It’s hard for me to admit all the ambivalent moments I had on the way to becoming the mom I am today. I was terribly afraid I would be a bad mom, for a whole host of reasons.
But the moment the nanny from the orphanage walked through the Changsha hotel room door and placed my little pumpkin pie in my arms, wearing the most ragged and worn clothes I had ever seen, I became fearless.
I was not only, in that moment, her mother, but I knew I was also her protector.
This child who had not had any cuddling or playing or real love for the first year of her little life was now my child. And she needed me in a way no other person would ever need me, before or after.
I didn’t know her language. I didn’t know what she liked. I didn’t know what she was afraid of.
But in that moment, somehow, I became her fiercest advocate and knew that I had to be fearless for her — fearless in my love for her and fearless in taking a stand for her so that she would know that she was loved.
Today, six years later, PunditGirl is a thriving first-grader. She needs me in a different way now than she did when we met in China. She’s more confident and powerful than I remember being at that age. Even though she is a strong girl, I know she still needs me in a way she will never need anyone else.
I know I still need to be her fearless advocate, and I will remain in that role forever, so she knows not only that her PunditParents love her unconditionally, but that it’ s also OK for her to begin learning to be fearless in her own life.