Friday, September 28, 2012

for my girl...

One year ago today, just as one of my oldest and best friends welcomed her baby girl into the world, we discovered we, too, were in for a load of sugar and spice and everything nice. 

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{It was a really good day for the fairer sex.}

I was sure we were having a boy.  It was all laid out in my mind... the perfect name, fabric for the bedding, the indoctrination into all things truck and train and crane.

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When the ultrasound technician said "girl," I was positive she was wrong.  I was having a boy -- surely the doctor would counter her mistake and confirm my intuition.  I remember him coming in, taking the wand, and asking if the tech had made a guess... We replied that she had, and he said not to tell him, so that he wouldn't be swayed.  After a few moments, he exclaimed - with all the confidence in the world - "I sure hope she told you a girl; otherwise, she's dead wrong." 

Shock. 

Elation. 

Sheer terror. 

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We like to say we'll bring our children up in identical fashion regardless of their sex.  And, yes, so many of my hopes and expectations for L would be the same, even if she happened to be a boy.  But I'd be fibbing if I said my mentality didn't shift the moment I heard that sweet four letter word.

Despite being relatively well-versed in all things girly - and despite being completely over the moon at the thought of my own, pint-sized lady friend - the responsibility of raising a happy, healthy, confident girl weighed heavily on me one year ago... and continues to occupy my thoughts on the regular.

The standards I've set for myself as the mother of a girl are high... and the hopes I have for my daughter - as a girl, as a woman, as a human being - are many.  The former is fodder for another post, I suppose... but the latter are {ever-growing, ever-expanding} wishes for today...

For L...

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While Pretty does bear weight in this world {only a fool or a liar would tell you otherwise}, may you always remember that Smart, Funny, Thoughtful, and Kind are infinitely more beautiful than just Pretty.

May you accept no idea, religion, or platform blindly.  At the same time, may you have deep faith in something larger than yourself.

I hope you always value a hand-written note and a book printed on paper.

For selfish reasons, I hope you love to read... to cook... to sing... to dance wildly... to be outdoors.  I hope we spend countless hours doing these things together.  But whatever your interests, I hope you have a few small passions that fit easily and snugly into your daily life -- find three minutes of bliss in an impromptu car aria; achieve momentary calm in the rhythm of a chef's knife.

I hope you cultivate a diverse group of encouraging friends who celebrate your victories, comfort your sorrows, and make mischief with you... Some will be lifelong and some that may appear for just a short time or specific purpose, but I hope they each enrich your life in ways big and small.

May negativity and self-doubt be fleeting.  May the media, social pressures, and other outside influences occupy only the tiniest piece of your mental real estate {better yet, none at all}.

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I hope you enjoy an active pursuit that keeps you healthy and involved -- preferably one with a ball of some sort.  While your mama never had a natural ability for team sports, I feel strongly that girls greatly benefit from an organized sport in which they are encouraged to whack or kick something with all their might.

I hope the travel bug bites you hard.  May you discover new pieces of yourself all over the wide world.

May you be generous and accepting, even to folks who do things differently than you do.

I hope you always remain curious and hungry for knowledge.  Even when it is unkind to you, may you always see the world as a place of endless possibility.

May you fall hopelessly in love with someone hopelessly wrong for you.  May you have the good sense to remember fondly but move on quickly.

I hope you come of age in a nation where you are free to marry whomever you choose to love.  I hope you choose someone who makes you laugh hourly, challenges you daily, and pushes you to be the best version of yourself possible always.

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May you always be as comfortable in your skin as you are now -- marshmallow-stack arms, hambone legs, belly rolls and all.  I know in my heart that, wish as I might, this one will not always stick... Hell, it might never stick again after the age of 12.  During lapses in confidence, may you always know I find you practically perfect in every way, regardless of your clothing size or the state of your cowlick.  At times, that won't feel like nearly enough, but, remember, it is a constant, faithful something.

I hope the world continues to provide you with strong female role models and girl crushes - both in the public eye and in your personal life.

May your imagination take you on the most wondrous of adventures. May you believe in magic, Santa Claus, and the innate goodness of humanity as long as you possibly can.

I hope we will always be honest with one another. I hope communication between us remains easy... or, in those dark days of teenagerdom, as easy as can be reasonably expected.  While I promise to be your parent first, I do hope we grow to be as close in friendship as your grandmother and I have.

Anyone who tells you it's possible to have it all at once is selling you something... However, I hope you get as close to "it all" as humanly possible.


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One more {for now}...

May you always feel and never doubt the depth of my love for you.  

You are my best girl... 

xo, Mama

37 comments:

  1. Ohh you made me cry with this one. So well written. Perfectly done.

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  2. Got teary. Admired yet again your wonderful writing. Wished I knew you in real life. Ginched your little girl's arm, in my heart. She's a lucky baby.

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  3. You need to frame this for her room someday. What a powerful letter to your daughter.

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  4. I agree with the two above. Teary eyed as I have the same thoughts in regards to my little bitty girl - who at 4 months takes my breath away. I also was SURE we were having a boy and was in shock and awe that he was in fact a she! I was so sure that upon delivery my first question was "is it still a girl?" What a wonderful keepsake for your daughter. I also agree that L is a lucky babe!

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  5. This is so lovely Kate! I'm touched. I think this post, and the post Erin wrote the night before Hudson was born are my most favoritest posts about parenting my friends have ever written.

    Hugs!

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  6. This may be the best post you have ever written. I love, love, love everything you had to say. My little girl is due in 21 days and I hope to be able to do something this amazing for her!

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  7. Tears! Such a beautiful post for a beautiful little girl.

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  8. I'm so happy my allergies made mascara an impossibility this morning...because raccoon eyes at my desk would be awkward. I wish you were my mom!! :) Love this.

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  9. Beautiful; pass the Kleenex, please. LUM

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  10. I adore this. I have a little girl myself, born about 6 weeks after your "L". I share all your sentiments, but this is far more beautifully articulated than the thoughts in my heart. Beautiful! And I agree - give this to her when she leaves for college, gets married or has her first baby. So so special.

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  11. I love this post (definitely made me cry as well) and I absolutely love little girls! P.S. Don't sell yourself short on the athletic front...you certainly kicked with all your might on Hyline :).

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  12. Amazing. You should have this post and the images set to a little flip book for her to keep and read anytime she needs a mama boost in her life.

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  13. Tears are streaming down my face. This is beautifully written, and so perfect for any daughter!! Wonderful job articulating what we all want to say to our precious girls. Thank you!

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  14. Oh god, yes. Yes to all of it.

    I was certain we were having a boy too. Our daughter will be born in November, and I agree wholeheartedly, I feel the responsibility of mothering a daughter much more than I think I would have a son. I want her to be so many things: confident, opinionated, kind, secure in herself, and on and on and on.

    Great post!

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  15. I love this! You are a great momma!

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  16. As I sit here reading this just weeks away from meeting our baby girl, all I can say in response is YES. I have been looking at myself lately and how I can be the best female role model for my daughter, and man, that pressure is intense. There's so much I want for her, and it's almost overwhelming thinking about all she'll face in this world.

    Your words are so beautiful here. And I agree with previous commenter...you totally need to make this into a little book for L. What a sweet gift to keep with her at all times.

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  17. I could not have said it any better myself as to my wishes for my own daughter. I too, always just assumed it would be a boy and not finding out the sex until she was here kind of made that assumption stronger. But, now that I have a daughter, I too worry that this is a scary world and that I know the struggles of being a girl all too well. Here's hoping I can be the best example for her...

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  18. This was so, so beautiful - just like your baby girl.

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  19. You truly have a way with words. This is simply beautiful. Not only because of your words but because of the pictures of L that you included. This little lady is so lucky to have you as her momma.

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  20. CRYING. Way too beautiful for a blog. Print this one out.

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  21. This is absolutely beautiful!
    It makes me want to think more carefully about my hopes and dreams for my little boy - I experienced the same, but in reverse.

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  22. Maybe I should clarify: I was a little nervous to have a boy, worried that we wouldn't be able to have a strong relationship like my mom and I do, but I also felt a little bit "off the hook" for many of the issues you describe above.
    Now I'm thinking I'm no more off the hook than the mother of a young lady, because if the world is going to change so that little girls don't have to face body image issues, confidence in math and science, etc then I need to be conscientious and purposeful about how I raise my son to interact with young women. Um, duh!

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  23. This is absolutely beautiful and brought me to tears. Your writing always (ALWAYS) hits home for me.

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  24. This made me get all teary eyed. Thank you for the beautiful words - I wish the same for my little 5 month old lady friend.

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  25. True, important, and beautiful. I love this. Your love for your daugher shines so strong.

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  26. So beautiful. All of our wishes for all of our children wrapped into one blog post.

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  27. Absolutely beautiful Kate. I wrote similar for E a while ago and our hopes for our girls are so similar. It's such a responsibility raising girls because how they see themselves is very tied into what we teach them. It's huge but such a privelege. I also thought I was having a boy but could not be more happy that I was wrong. My girl is amazing. As is your L. I cannot wait to see what they become.

    Save this for her Mama. She will love it.

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  28. One of my favorite posts to date. I too hold myself to a bit of a higher standard raising a girl and all of your words were said perfectly. L is a lucky lady.

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  29. Gorgeous post. I agree with the others--print it and put it somewhere for her to have forever. And that first picture of her? Amazing little eyes. Great job, mama.

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  30. Weeping here. Beautiful, beautiful post. L is a lucky girl.

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  31. Many tears here. What beautiful thoughts, wishes and dreams for precious L. I feel extremely proud to have such smart, introspective and "grounded" daughter who also happens to be a wonderful writer. Beautiful inside and out. L is very fortunate to have you for her mom just as I as so very fortunate to have you for my daughter. XXXOOO

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  32. This is beautiful, Kate! I love this.

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happy little comments!