I adore you, little one. Every strand of your furry little head that tickles my nose as you sleep soundly on my chest, every sigh and whimper and grunt as you sleep not so soundly. Every soft sniffle that turns into a quiet cry into a loud wail until I gather you quickly into my arms, the way your cries die down into tired comforted breaths when you know I’ve given up on putting you back down.
I wanted a boy. That was what I told people when we didn’t know what you would be. I wanted a boy because boys were familiar to me. Your brother broke me in as a mommy and as hard as that was, nothing scared me more than the unknown: what our relationship would be, what missteps I’d take, and the pain of you pushing me away one day. But I was scared mostly for you – the challenges you’d face and the things I wanted so desperately to protect you from.
As close as I am with your grandmother now, we didn’t always get along and I wasn’t always the best daughter. She was a wonderful mom and we still grew apart; I had an idyllic childhood and still managed to find reasons to be upset at the world and at her, and as you’ll learn much later when you’re old enough to read this, karma is a b- ….will come back to teach you a lesson.
But you ended up being a girl, and I was surprised and scared and so overjoyed at the same time. I don’t think I knew how badly I wanted you until you became real. I relished in designing your nursery, and made your dad promise that I would get full decorative reign. I avoided buying you dresses and bows and little shoes as long as I could because I knew once those floodgates opened there was no turning back. I struggled with what to name you because as much as I thought it should be classic and feminine, I decided you needed a name that would stand out like I knew you would.
When you were born I felt different. We had known each other a matter of minutes but I could already see how different and special you were, how much I wanted to tell you things that I knew you wouldn’t understand until you have children of your own. I have so much to give you – as your mom and as a woman and as a once little girl and once very sad and very lost young woman.
You’re already showing how strong you are. You look at me knowingly and when I talk to you and explain things I see you listening intently. But you’re also vulnerable in a way your older brother wasn’t – you’re easily startled and you pout your lower lip at the smallest sign of fear or discomfort. You’ve learned that the little lip elicits instant results when you need saving.
I hope I can teach you to be strong, and that being a girl doesn’t always mean pink and doesn’t always mean weak. You can have your Disney princesses with a side of superheroes, you can wear dresses and still play in the dirt, you can cry and still find strength in your tears. I want you to always feel beautiful and know that beauty is inside not out. I want you to question and wonder and run fast and laugh hard and never be scared and never think you can’t. I want you to never need a boy or feel like you should change for a boy, because I promise you there will be no shortage of them. And the best boy for you will be the one you meet when you’re the best girl for yourself. I love you so much my sweet girl, I hope you’ll always remember that.