A favourite poet of mine is Sarah Kay, who wrote the beautiful piece IF I SHOULD HAVE A DAUGHTER. I remember watching the clip of her speaking the poem, and falling completely in love with the the way she connects the most everyday things like rain boots, solar systems and chocolate into the life lessons every parent wishes their child to know. You can find her beautiful writing here, but I've also written my own piece inspired by Kay's If I Should Have A Daughter which you can read right here.
If I should have a daughter, her first word will be her own name, and she will sing its melody so many times that when others try to drown it out she will simply create harmonies. That way she will know no one can take it away from her. And she will play with the looping and curling letters that she was gifted with, dreaming and crafting and slipping and falling, so that she learns that words are what you make them but what you make can easily hurt you too.
Instead of wrapping her in bubble wrap, she will learn to pop it, because the things meant to keep us safe are sometimes the things that harm us the most, and this daughter of mine will not trip over herself on the way forward. No, she will learn that the stars are her climbing frame, the moon is her friend and the sun her torch light, but she has to want their help first. She will clamber through the solar systems and slide on Saturn's rings so she can truly say the universe is her playground. Her eyes will sting from the stardust caked on her hands, her hair will be tangled into galaxies and she will imagine that perhaps she is the universe, and she herself is the playground she must explore.
And there will be times when this daughter of mine finds her tongue cuts deep, when she trips others in her haste to stand upright. And there will be times when that universe she loves knocks the air right out of her, and things won't look so beautiful anymore. If there is one thing I can promise her, is that I will be the first one to not tell, but to show her that she can make this universe a little more beautiful, if only she offers a hand to those on the ground and an umbrella to the world when the rain starts to fall.
If she tells me she wants to fly, I will make her a cape, but first she must know that the only way to soar through the air is with a heart as light as a feather. And maybe if she takes after her Grandfather and falls for the intricacies of physics, she will tell me "Mama, if you're talking about weight, a feather will be equal to any other object on earth." and I will laugh and hug her closer. But because she will take after her mother and never be satisfied, she will ask exactly what I mean, and I will give her flowers to hand out on the streets or let her smile at everyone she sees. And at the end of the day when she puts on her cape I'll ask her, "Sweetheart, don't you feel closer to flying now?" If she takes after her Grandmother, she'll be asked to bottle up her smile and allow the world to keep something so precious. If she takes after her aunt, she'll have a heart lighter than a feather any day.
As much as I hate it, the days will come when I question what world I'm leaving her. The poetry caught in her eyelashes and the castles she could bring down with her determined glare will be the reason I'll fight to set the world alight in the hope something better can be born from the ashes. I will see her in everyone around me, and I'll fight for them, too. She will ask me why I hate all these wars, and I will answer that we fight enough of them everyday. She will ask why the sad people we see on the news make me upset, and I tell her that it's because in someway we are those sad people too. She will ask me what she can do to make it better, and I'll tell her that she should fight and rage and never just accept what everyone else tells her. And then I'll regret it when she uses those words against me in an argument.
If I should have a daughter, and I fail to teach her everything I've said, I hope that she grows up to know one thing. That she is loved. And I ask one thing; that she shares that love in her smile, in her words and in her actions, every single day.