If I have a daughter, I will tell her to always think she is ready for this shiny, fast-moving world because at least then, when it barrels at her unannounced, she will have the sense to keep her head up and watch with open hands when it comes towards her. I will teach her to always use the blocks when she starts a race because she’ll have to learn that sometimes you have to push against something hard in order to go ahead. I will tell her that the feeling of falling is normal but her legs are strong and steady when at last she runs.
If I have a daughter, I will teach her to read storybooks because we only have time to live one life on our own but there are so many others to learn from, too. I will teach her to always dream and to sometimes make plans and to sometimes break plans because you lose so much if you forget everything but the present. Remember, I’ll say, it is only when the coin is in the air that you will know how you want it to land.
Eventually, I will tell her about hearts breaking and about hearts healing and about other things she will never believe in until they happen to her. I will encourage her loves and console her loses and be there and be okay when she thinks no one is there and nothing is okay.
If I have a daughter, I will give her flower bulbs for celebrations instead of cut bouquets so she learns that what is nurtured will grow and what is cut short will only fade. I will teach her how to garden and how to crochet and how to hem a pair of pants.
One morning, I will teach her dad how to French braid hair while I make sandwiches with peanut butter on both pieces of bread. His rough hands will be gentle and serious and she will show off her lopsided braid to all of her friends at recess.
Daughter, I will one day whisper, I wish I could say you are mine but you are yours. And you are beautiful.
* – Inspired by the really wonderful spoken word poetry of Sarah Kay: