Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Myth of our Daughters

I did it again today, and so I feel I must apologize. Someone said they are having their third daughter, and I laughed, and I told them how, after having 1 boy and 1 girl, we hoped for our third to be a boy. I did what so many of us mothers do, I spoke of the evils of having a daughter. Why do we do that? Why do we exaggerate or complain about the “craziness” that comes along with having a daughter? Why don’t we do the same to our boys? You rarely hear someone say that they don’t want another boy, unless that is all they have and they are hoping for that lone girl. 

I am sorry, my dear sweet Irie. I have done you an injustice. I have failed to highlight the really awesome things about you, because our culture instead wants to vilify. Instead of groaning about your sassy attitude or your emotional outbursts, I should have praised your kind heart and poetic mind. I should have mentioned that you say the most beautiful prayers at night with the innocence and clarity of a child, but the words of a miniature poet. I should praise the way that you smile when your baby brother reaches out and holds onto your face as he falls asleep, or the gentle way you pry his hands away as they entwine in your mass of ringlets. 

I should be admiring your strength as tears fall silently down your cheeks when your tiny chin gets pinched in your bike helmet, by none other than your own mother, the way that you fall into my arms to be consoled instead of blaming and pointing fingers as someone else might. I should admire your optimism on the playground as you go from group to group trying to make friends with tiny strangers despite the meanness of some of the other children around you. 
I am so sorry, dear, sweet girl for not heralding your true nature, for not shouting to the rooftops about the beauty of your soul.
I am not blind to your imperfections, but neither should I be blind to the absolute awesomeness of you.
Mothers of sons, I apologize to you as well. You will never know the joy of seeing someone become you. You will never have secrets that only a mother and daughter can share. You will never get to describe what it was like to carry your daughter inside of you as she carries your grandchild inside of her.  You will never get the opportunity to raise someone to be your best friend when they are grown.
Being a mother of a girl makes me a better woman, because I know that I must lead by example. And so I will start with showing her that she is someone who is amazing, someone who should be praised and hugged, and someone who should know that I wouldn’t trade her for a hundred boys!