To My Girl,
Where do I even begin? Firstly, I want you to know how much I want you. You might come to find that a lot of women fret over having female offspring ("I can't handle a mini-me," "girls are so mean," etc.), but me? No way. What could be better than a girl and future woman? Women change the world every day, and I'd like to think you'll be the owner of a very large hammer to use on any and all glass ceilings you encounter.
I can't wait to watch you grow. Of course, I'll try to guide you on your way, consulting the experts on things like what you should read, what to feed you, and how to encourage you to be kind and compassionate. But I have a unique opportunity to talk to you right now, while you're still just a dream and I'm still trying to figure myself out.
I fully expect you to hate me, and I also fully expect you to get over it.
When you're a teenager, I'm sure I'll seem old and irrelevant in your eyes, but I know our relationship will continue to evolve, and one day you'll start to see me as your friend. I know I won't be the "perfect" mother, and I know you won't be the "perfect" daughter. In fact, you come from a long line of fabulously difficult daughters, and I plan to celebrate this fact. Perfection is boring, and I promise to cherish and encourage your fire and individuality as much as I can.
When it comes to daughters, I know a little bit about what awaits me. I'm a daughter myself (you'll meet your grandma one day), and I'm still navigating my relationship with my own mother. She challenged me as a teenager, so I preferred my dad . . . as my mom preferred her dad, and my grandmother preferred her father. But when we reached adulthood, we all became close to our mothers, too. They became the person we relied on for everything, and I can't wait to be that for you. I fully expect you to hate me, and I also fully expect you to get over it.
You'll go through an awkward phase (don't worry, we all do), and I apologize for the years of orthodontic work that most likely lie ahead of you. Just please know that no matter what — even if you have the best jeans, the coolest backpack, and the best grades — middle school is weird for everyone. I don't want you to feel pressure to be perfect. No one is . . . except maybe Beyoncé, but I expect her to be an icon of yours already (that's a conversation for another day). I want you to have strong female role models — from authors to athletes to adventurers to musicians. I'll try to be a role model, too, but that idea is scary now. Me, a role model? Bear with me on that one, baby girl.
When it's difficult to express yourself, and the world feels frightening and overwhelming, I promise to try to remember how I felt at your age. There's nothing you can't talk to me about, whether it's about sex, abortion, mental health, what have you. I'm here. Which leads me to dating. When that day comes, and you start developing crushes — on boys or girls — know that you don't need to downplay any part of yourself to make someone like you. Nothing is more attractive than someone with opinions, stories, and energy for life.
And finally, be kind to your siblings. And if you aren't, be quick to apologize. They'll need you, and you'll need them. There's no replacement for the closeness you achieve with a sibling.
Welcome to the team, kid. The future is female, and it starts with you.
With Love and Anticipation,