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To My Daughter on Her First Birthday

To My Darling Daughter,

Let me begin by saying Happy Birthday!  I can’t believe a year has gone by since the first time I held you in my arms.

If I’m being completely honest, I don’t think I realized how much I needed a daughter until the moment I looked down on your sweet face.

As you know, your brother came first.  I was over the moon to have a son.  I was okay with a life filled with dinosaurs, trains and racing cars.  Being a “boy mom” had suited me so far and I would have been perfectly happy welcoming another son.

My birthday girl

And then you arrived.

You are so sweet and fierce in the most wonderful way.  You go from snuggling to in your brothers face screaming to play with his dinosaurs in a matter of seconds.  I love that one of your first words was a solid “NO” when Big Brother was aggravating you.

And while I wish you wouldn’t scream in bloody murder when I’m trying to put you in a car seat, the fact that you are so strong willed gives me hope for your future.

And boy, do I ever need hope.

I never realized how terrifying raising a daughter can be.

Sure, there’s the normal stuff I worry about with your brother too.  Make sure you say please, mind your manners, be kind.  The all-around doing my best not to raise jerks kind of stuff.

But the world today scares me.  In a world where #metoo has become the norm and there’s a new sexual harassment scandal taking over the headlines every day, it legitimately frightens me as to what you’re going to face as you grow into the bright young woman I’m raising you to be.

The world has to do better by you.  We need to do better by you.

I don’t want you to ever feel forced to laugh at inappropriate joke from a colleague, or coerced to smile because “it will make you look prettier.”

I hope that no one ever tries to blame your outfit or ask you, “Well what were you wearing?”

I hope that you’re never told your outfit is inappropriate solely because your bare shoulders might tempt a boy.

I hope that the message of the women of today is heard loud and clear, so that you never have your own story to share.

But I know I’m being optimistic, and that these hopes are most likely in vain.  And while I could wallow in despair, I’ll take comfort in the fact that I’m raising a daughter who is forceful, who knows what she wants and even at the tender age of one, isn’t afraid to make her voice heard.  Don’t ever lose that, my darling.

And most importantly, never forget what your daddy tells you every day.  That you can do anything any boy can do, and to never let anyone try to tell you otherwise.

I love you forever,

Mama

 

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