Nine years ago, a doctor handed me a pink bundle and said, “She’s yours.”
And while it wasn’t said out loud, I’m pretty sure the “don’t screw her up” was implied. I could swear I heard it, though.
Since the day that pink bundle was resting on my C-section scar, the weight and enormity of raising a confident, plucky, strong girl has never been far from my mind.
These days, with social media, celebrities who weigh approximately 46 pounds, mean girls and Miley Cyrus, parents of girls have their work cut out for them. Literally CUT OUT, since Miley almost never wears anything with fewer than four see-through holes.
Lately, I have found myself quietly watching the little girl we used to have transform into a young lady, and if I’m being honest, that transformation has me running scared. She just turned 9 this week, which means I only have nine more years to get her ready to fight for herself in the real world.
Nine more years to make sure she knows how to braise a roast, manage her iCloud storage and distinguish between a douchebag and Prince Charming.
That’s not a lot of time.
And it makes me twitchy.
What if I forget to tell her something? What if I miss an opportunity to impress upon her the importance of never buying sheets with less than a 200 thread count? What if she leaves my house without ever having learned how to make the Thanksgiving stuffing her father’s side of the family eats (it’s DISGUSTING but, dammit, she needs to know….).
There are just SO. MANY. THINGS I want her to know. Like:
- Girls should never apologize for saying NO. Say it to boyfriends, bosses, scary PTA moms and the pushy lady at Bath and Body Works. And own it. Because you are allowed.
- Every girl should own one couch that they picked out with no one else’s opinion except their own.
- You may love him now, but his mother loved him first. Respect that.
- Knowing how to cook will save you hundreds of dollars in your first apartment.
- Tampons suck.
- The first time you poop after a C-section, you will think you just saw God, all his angels and the Pearly Gates.
- The girl is always entitled to an orgasm. Every time. It’s not just about him. And if he says otherwise, put your clothes back on and go home.
- Life is too short for cheap haircuts and flimsy pink razors. Pay extra for both.
- Every girl needs a good pair of tweezers. Because chin hairs.
- Jackie Onassis never wore Daisy Dukes. You shouldn’t either.
- The man to marry is the one who will stand next to you, not in front of you.
- Shoes and handbags ALWAYS fit. So buy the good ones.
- Nothing makes a woman look more in control than a well-cut dress, spike heels and red lipstick. Work it. Even if you think your hips are too big.
- There will be women who will judge you, challenge you and try to break your spirit. Ignore them. Smile at them. Pity them.
- When money is tight, peanut butter has protein, oranges prevent scurvy and 10 bottles of wine are necessary.
- If you are going through it, your mother probably did, too. Ask for her advice.
And this list is just the tip of the iceberg. I didn’t even get into the merits of binge-watching Netflix after a stressful work week, the necessity of milk chocolate or the fact that her thighs won’t always look like they do when she’s 16. There is so very much that I want to tell her, that I don’t want to forget to mention or expound on. To somehow make it easier for her to grow into the woman I know she’ll become. As I look at her now, sitting next to me, quietly doing homework, I am in awe of her. Speechless, really, as I watch this beautiful creature grow right before my eyes.
Fortunately, I stlll have nine years to remember what I want to say.