Things I’ll Tell My Daughter Someday This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

May 16, 2012
her eyes are still closed
when i meet my daughter for the
first time.
she's pressed against my stomach,
unknowingly touching 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 scars,
and cradled in spray-tanned wrists that
don't really hide the complete truth.
i think of laughing – how could
something so
ugly hold something so beautiful?
but i just clutch her closer and promise
that the same things will not happen
to her.
in a world that will treat her wrong,
i swear i'll raise her right.

i'll teach her “perfect” before i teach her “hate.”
i will form her hand into the shape
of a gun
just so i can show her the peace sign.
i'll teach her how to forget to breathe,
but only for things she thinks are worth it –
like something beautiful or a boy or maybe a girl.

i don't want her first word to be “mama”
and i want her to know what life means before she
dives headlong into it.
but i guess it's kind of
already too late for that.

i will teach her “beautiful” before she learns “weight”
and some nights when her dreams get too bad, i'll sit by her bed
and whisper “perfect” into her ear until it sinks in.
baby, i'll be your dreamcatcher, no matter
how many holes I have in me.

i will ask her who she ­believes in,
before she asks me.
when she comes to me wondering what's in the sky,
i'm going to tell her to go look for

my daughter will be a giver, a learner, and a knower
of all things unimportant.
she'll know to drive with her windows down and her head out
because that's the closest she'll ever get to flying.
she'll know how to write love on a girl's arm.
she'll know how to save a life;
then she'll also know how to live one.

see, life's gonna give you a black eye
(or two) and a broken arm.
love's gonna give you a
red eye
(or two) and a broken heart.
but the moon is laughing,
the ocean is shining,
and baby turtles are making their way to the water
wondering if they'll be able to swim.

remember that gunshots are people all over the world
calling out that they are still alive.
and when the thunder is too loud,
it's just making
sure it's not just imaginary.
remember that you've got to be
cautious in this
world shaped like a gun and never let go of the trigger
but see, the saddest thing in life is
to not live.

and when my daughter has grown up so much that
cinderella stories don't cut it and fairy tale endings aren't enough,
i'll take her aside and tell her the
story of how i survived the war
with myself
with no casualties whatsoever.
i'll tell her that it is not always like that, because i knew a boy who
committed suicide.
but i'll also tell her that she can
survive anything this life – and
the next – throws at her.
because above all things, my daughter?
my daughter will be a fighter.

(you will also be able to swim)

maybe there's nothing in the sky
but atoms
and molecules.
but please find it in your heart
to forgive me when on days
the world is too much for you,
i take you by the hand and tell you
that in the sky
if you squint really hard
(really, really hard)
you might find a god
like you find a leprechaun or a genie.
catch him and obtain a pot of gold or three wishes.
because, daughter, that's how it is
some days.

my daughter will be Beautiful
my daughter will be Amazing
my daughter will be World-shaking.
and i?
i can't wait to meet her.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

Join the Discussion

This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

mereCat This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 3, 2014 at 3:16 am
Well here is a brilliant example of both beauty and perfection... <3
Rosalynne said...
Mar. 6, 2014 at 1:01 pm
In my top 5...  
Abigail.Oestreich said...
Dec. 29, 2012 at 10:13 pm
This. This is simply wonderful. It made me cry. Stay beautiful, darling. And stay strong, too.
bumblebee_babii said...
Sept. 14, 2012 at 7:58 am
This is an amzing article. I cried when I read it. It's so true. I even had my mom read it. Sheloved it too. Keep up the good work. But work on capitalization. You will be an amazing mother, your daughter will be lucky to have someone like you as her mother. Read this to your daughter. <3
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