November 28, 2018

A Love Letter to my Daughter about her Body.

Sweet girl.

You are so lovely in your girl body.

So full of pleasure. So inside yourself, so embodied.

Sometimes, watching you makes me mourn my own girl body. My straight lines and smooth, hairless skin. Limbs meant to climb trees and skip, meant to sprint and tumble and dance.

But mostly, watching you stretches and swells my heart.

How precious it is to witness someone else’s becoming, to see change whisper through every cell of their body.

And how heartbreaking.

Because with each change we leave ourselves behind. Some older version of ourselves, so unique and flickering, drips away.

This you that exists right now will someday be lost. So I want to save it for us. For you, in case you need it someday. In case you forget, like I did, what it’s like to fully inhabit your body. To be in love with pleasure. To not even think of wishing yourself any different. To not sneer at the mirror. To not slice yourself into body parts. To delight in the unlikely experience of existing in a human body. “This feels so good,” you said in the shower the other morning, the warm water running down your skin, your eyes closed, chin lifted, mouth curving into a smile.

When you were still in my body, you felt more like lightness than anything else. With your brother, I felt what I’d later learn was his steel will, his rugged decidedness. But you felt slippery, almost flimsy, a wisp of a glow.

And now I see this lightness every day. Your delight. Your spark. Your soft sweetness, your unrelenting kindness. You are so very, deliciously you. You love your girlness in a way I don’t ever remember loving my own. You love unicorns and headbands, you love bright, bold pink and glimmering bracelets.

The world, at times, might make you question this love. Might make you question your appetite. Your birthright to pleasure. Your inherent, untampered beauty. I questioned mine for decades. I grew bruised and battered by trying to squeeze myself into such narrowness.

But we are sinewy strong, and it’s never too late to reclaim our old joys. To relearn to adore ourselves. To look into the mirror and bask in our own fierce glow.

Like I do in yours. I have for nearly every day of your life, as I’ve gaped at the changing, the unfolding, and the becoming of you. And also at the sameness, the consistency of your bright, glistening light—hand on my widening heart, in utter awe.

We change, we change, we change. We are clusters of cells who become girls who stretch into women. So baffling and beautiful.

Thank you for letting me witness and mother you. For letting me stand in your ever-growing pool of light—and for allowing me to remember my own.

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