Edie, today is International Women’s Day. I still remember the moment the ultrasound technician proudly announced, “you’re having a diva!” Your dad and I were so shocked we had her repeat herself, to which she said, “it’s a girl!”
“It’s a girl” was thrilling to me in every sense of the word. It was exhilarating, exciting, delightful, inspiring. It was scary, nerve-wracking, and mind-blowing. We expected a boy. We prepared for a boy. Now, a girl?
I desperately wanted a girl for so many reasons. I was also afraid. I was afraid to bring a girl into the world because of how the world has long mistreated women. Hear me right, when I say, “the world.” It’s just that for thousands of years we, women, were regarded as property or were relegated to a very specific role without choice or freedom.
International Women’s Day is one of those days full of meaning for some and empty for many. It’s a day fraught with political and social significance. I hope when you are my age it is less contentious and more embraced.
I want so much for you as a woman. From the moment you entered the world you had to fight for your first breath and first heartbeat. I desperately wanted to hold you, but had to let your hand holding my finger be enough while you were in the NICU incubator. Then I wanted to bring you home when I went home, but you had to be strong without me and I had to be strong without you. When you finally did come home, you fought for me. Fought so hard I gave in and wore you all-day, every-day for the first 6 months. You still fight for the things that matter to you. I hope you always do. My prayer is that you always fight for things that actually matter, not petty problems.
I want you to be strong in who you are, to be confident in your gifts, talents, strengths, and calling. I want you to be one of those girls and teenagers and women who strengthen and encourage other girls, teenagers, and women. That you are someone who helps everyone you meet to feel comfortable in their own skin. A woman who doesn’t judge or criticize, but empowers and encourages.
Every day I ask God for grace and wisdom to help you harness your strengths. Because every day, it feels like my strength and your strength could easily collide and combust. What I want is my strength and your strength to build something beautiful, something meaningful. When I watch your passion it inspires me to be passionate. When I see you dance and run and play it thrills my heart and I never want you to stop so I join in.
I’ve had my fair share of frustration and exhaustion because of your strength and you’re just shy of 2 years old. Someday, you will be the one frustrated and exhausted with me. So if I can selfishly ask one thing from you, please, have patience and pray for me when that day comes.