I have a confession to make, M.
When I was pregnant with you, I hoped you wouldn’t be a girl.
Why would I hope such a thing?
Oddly, it wasn’t because I wanted another boy.
There were two major reasons.
The first was that I was afraid that I would end up being the same kind of mother to you that your grandmother was to me; that I would end up inflicting the same kind of pain upon you that your grandmother inflicted upon me; that I would end up damaging you the same way that your grandmother damaged me.
The second was that I was terrified that you would go through any of what I’ve gone through. Things that were said or done to me, simply because I am female. I couldn’t bear the thought of my daughter being socially, emotionally, or physically injured, simply for being a girl.
But, M, we were so excited to welcome you into the family. So thankful that you were healthy.
I have said this before….
You are smart, strong, funny (you deny it, but you are so funny), kind, thoughtful, affectionate, and stunningly beautiful (inside and out).
You know your mind, and – especially if pushed – you will let people know it.
From the very first day, you have taught me patience and to be calm. You are as comfortable as I am sitting quietly while you complete an activity, but you’ve also got the feistiness I’ve got when necessary.
You look up to Z, and I am ever so fortunate to have the privilege to be your mother.
And here’s my pledge to you, sweet girl, as I revisit all of these things that have happened in my life to try to come to terms with them and deal with the pain.
I pledge to….
Be the kind of mother to you that I wish your grandmother had been to me.
Give you just enough freedom to explore the world and make mistakes without holding you back, but not so much freedom that you question whether you can count on me to share your thoughts, feelings, fears, dreams and successes with.
Teach you not only to stand up for yourself, but that there is nothing wrong – ever – with doing so.
Teach you to protect yourself – socially, emotionally and physically – while also not shutting out people who care.
Teach you to be tough and caring at the same time.
Teach you to be a warrior, like me, without getting there the same way I did.
You will be just fine, sweet girl, because I will give you the tools you need to make sure you are.
Here’s a spoken word poem by Sarah Kay, commonly known as “If I Should Have a Daughter” that moves me every time I hear it:
If you’re interested, the transcript of it can be found in this post.