From Bibs and Bottles to Training Bras
In 2 days my baby girl will be 12 years old. She’s entering the final stretch of her pre-teen days while I’m struggling to hang onto those precious moments when she was only as long as my forearm.
When babies enter the world doctors wait patiently, though sometimes anxiously, for their lungs to fill and let loose their first cries. I’m not sure my child’s doctors were able to hear her wail over mine. Nothing was more beautiful than witnessing the birth of my daughter. Her round cherubic face and her big curious eyes got a grip on my heart and wouldn’t let go. They still haven’t let go.
My baby is long legged and playful. She’s wise beyond her years but she’s true to her age and seeks her validation sometimes from the wrong people. She’s loving and sensitive. She’s beautiful and budding the way 12 year olds do, full of promise and the unknown.
Miss September, as she calls herself now, was the confident baby who strolled fearlessly through the world of her other set of parents. She commanded the attention and respect of our friends who ensured she had safe passage from the women’s circle to the men’s on opposite sides of a park. She’s always had presence. Many of my friends track their own aging through hers, she was born into our young adulthood and matured us all in the way we see and love. She’s the most loved little girl I know.
I can only hope her life remains so charmed. Sooner than I’m ready for, her life will intersect with miniature adults of the opposite sex. She’ll swoon the way I did, the way we all did, over those first testosterone rushes. I only hope she’s smarter than I was and skips past the early years where all it takes is for a boy to be cute to have access to your heart. I wish for her the good sense it takes to see past the person and into him to see if he’ll treat her with the respect she and ever other little girl needs to know she deserves. I hope the way she’s been ripened with love and attention will serve as a reminder that she should have what she’s already got at the very least, and in order to really be on her team you must come with more.
I want my child to know that some of this shit out here hurts but it doesn’t kill us. I want her to remember that places with drive-thrus are not restaurants and her goods are worth more than any item on a value menu. I want her to know that her body is growing many splendid additions but they can be more trouble than they’re worth at this time in her life. I want her to know that sometimes love can be a 4-letter word in the wrong hands and on the wrong tongue. I want her to know that when nurtured it’s the best gift anyone could ever give. I want her to know that the sky’s the limit and as an artist she’s in control of what her sky looks like. I want her to remember that blue is not the color of melancholy. I want her to always take with her that brown girls are beautiful in all their many forms and hers is as it should be. There’s more to life than the pursuit of money, but most things require it so make sure she chooses a chase that will make her happy. There is always someone who could use her help and often that’s as simple as being truthful. Penises pack a powerful punch; don’t step into the ring with one until you think you’re a heavyweight. Few things feel better than a first kiss. There are more flowers in the world than roses, demand some but not to be afraid to get them for herself. Children are a choice. Education is bigger than school, get some and treasure the lessons learned. Skip thinking outside of the box, burn the box down or use it to pack. Parents aren’t always right, we do what we know how and make up the rest as we go. For anything I messed up, Baby, I apologize. Every woman should live on her own before taking on marriage and family. Treat yourself well and demand no less from everyone else. Everyone who smiles at you is not your friend. Don’t waste too much time morning ends, it’ll make it hard to see the beginnings that are approaching. Learn to love exercise. Eat well and keep the throne clean. God is in you, where you are worship is happening. Be and live bigger than me.
Clearly, she’s my child and so I could go on and on. But on the eve of the eve of her birthday, I just needed to get a little of it off my heart. She’s my most precious gift. Look out for her cuz she’s comin fo’ ya!!
Watch her move!!