Mothering a Daughter
In a couple of days, my sweet girl will celebrate another trip around the sun. Like I do in January, she looks forward to her birthday with an obnoxious amount of excitement while I silently weep at the fact that my ‘baby’ is quickly moving towards double digits. The last few months have been particularly full of tears, as she’s becoming her own person and I’m realizing how much of me, and all the women of our family, are part of who she is. She’s equal parts sweet and sass and our worlds seem to collide quite a bit.
But when I look into her big brown eyes, I see something that makes me proud. She’s got a fire there that reminds me of grandmother, who’s middle name is my daughter’s first. I’ve even started calling her Jo, because there’s something about her that reminds me of my sweet Grammy, who’s been gone since 1999. Maybe it’s the way she lights up a room with her laugh or the way she dances effortlessly and carefree to her favorite song. Maybe it’s her very sassy attitude or her love for all things girly. Or maybe it’s her penchant for the right spices in her food or how she makes her daddy’s eyes light up when she hugs him. Whatever it is, I only hope and pray that the fire is never extinguished and that it brings warmth and comfort to those who need it – just like my grandmother did for so many people.
As I watch her grow up, I think about what it is to be her mother. I’m often concerned about being the mother to a black son, y’all watch the news, I don’t need to explain this. But as she gets older, I find myself equally, if not more, concerned about raising a black daughter. Will people tell her she needs to ‘tone it down’ in front of certain audiences, like they did to Tiffany Haddish? If she continues to be the tallest girl in the room – there’s a reason I call her long-legged Lucy – will people mock her and laugh at her? Will her kinky hair and brown skin not be straight enough or not natural enough or too dark or too light? Will her ability to fluently speak Spanish, play the piano well, or her being a swimmer instead of a baller make her seem out of touch with ‘the struggle’? Will she be enough for this world that constantly tries to put her in a box? I pray over her constantly and hope that she knows that she is enough. I constantly tell her how smart, talented, brave, and beautiful she is. I let her know that even when I’m upset with her choices, I love her more than she could possibly ever understand. And even though it gives me fits and has me texting friends to pray for us, I let her be her. And everything that comes with that.
Until next time…