To my darling daughters,
Somedays, I have just one, other days, there are two of you. Most times when I think about having children, I envision two daughters because I wouldn’t want you to grow up being the only girl. My oldest, I’d name you Adisyn and you, my sweet baby girl, I’d name you Eden. I’ve always wanted to be a mom; sometimes, I have two perfect little kiddos, sometimes three, sometimes four, maybe even five kids. I’ll admit, five seems like too many at times, but I then I think five is a good number because that’s how many kids my parents have between the two of them. It’d be crazy, but I feel like I’d enjoy the chaos of having a husband, 5 kids, 2 or 3 dogs, a couple fish and a turtle. I’d love it if you were all by the same man, and I hope that happens. But right now, you’re not born, nowhere near being conceived. So until then, I’m writing this letter to you, my sweet, beautiful, smart little brown girls because I have so much to say to you.
I’m writing this because though I have yet to see your faces, I am already in love with you. You see, I’ve wanted to be a mom since I was about eight. It’s always been on my big check list of life goals. It’s funny that I want little girls when I’m perhaps the most un-girly person there is. Well, I take that back; I’m girly, but I’m also way more comfortable in a pair of sweatpants, a tank top, my hair pulled up into a bun with a comfy sweater or cardigan and some Nike flip flops. There are, however, things I love about being a woman-the high heel shoes, wearing makeup, purses (sometimes), how amazing I look in a dress or a fitted skirt, buying cute bras and panties, getting my hair done (when I’m not the one doing it), drinking wine, taking luxurious showers and bubble baths, good smelling body wash and perfumes, lipstick, pedicures…There are a lot of good things about being a girl, but the thing I think I like the most is being a mom. Sure, it’s not always easy, and you could fuck it up at any time, but the idea that you get to create this tiny little life and raise it from birth to death like you’re God, is pretty cool if you ask me.
Motherhood is hard as hell, but the rewards are beautiful. It’s probably the second most important thing I want to do in life, besides saving the world from crazy ass people of course, and well, pleasing God to the fullest extent of my being. But again, motherhood is tricky, and it is NOT something you take lightly. You see, there are a million ways to be a mom, though most prefer to carry their children in their womb. I’d like to do that, if my body permits it but, if I can’t, I’ll still love you-whether I give birth to you, or you’re carried inside the womb of another, if you’re made in a test tube, if I adopt you, or if you happen to be a package deal that comes along with the man I marry. No matter what girls, you’re mine.
Speaking of your father…I don’t know who he is or where he is right now but, I can only hope that he is a kind, smart, loving, funny, and an all around good man. I know this guy who I think would be a great dad but, I doubt if he becomes your father. Though if he does, I really hope you get his cute freckles.
As for me? Well, girls, your mommy is quite an interesting lady. Right now I’m 26 years old; I’ve just graduated college but I’m about to go back to school and get another degree. I currently work as a nanny, so I’m getting in lots of practice for when you’re born. When I grow up (because age does not a grown-up make) I want to inspire people. I want to create laws and policies that help make people’s lives better. I want to be a college professor, I want to write books, and educate people, because a mind is a TERRIBLE thing to waste. My life was…it was okay growing up, but I’ve been through some things. I’m a little bit broken and damaged, but I’ve been working on putting myself back together again. Because everything I do, I do it with you and any other siblings you might have in mind. Now, if I could have, I would’ve had you sooner, but God knew I wasn’t ready for children just yet so he put you on hold, just for me. In fact, I’d love to have at least one of you right now, if I were more financially secure and I had a guy who’d I felt was worth having kids with.
There are so many things I want to tell you, so many things I have yet to teach you, but for right now, this letter is full of promises, of hopes and dreams that I have for you, my sweet, beautiful little girls. I want to be the best mom I can be to you both. If I could make life easy for you, if I could make life perfect, I’d do it, no questions asked. Sadly, you have to live your own lives and make your own mistakes, and I have to trust that I will have raised you right so that when you do fall down, you can get back up.
The world we live in is a mean and cruel one. You will face hatred and mistreatment for the color of your skin, because you were born a woman, sometimes because you believe in God. Boys will tell you they love you and won’t mean it. Friends will lie to you, people you love very much will die and you won’t understand why. Some days, I think of all of those things that you might have to face, and I would rather not have you, to protect you from all of that. However, as much as I’d rather not bring you into a world like that, I can’t imagine a world without you in it.
This letter is to give you hope, to give you advice, to make you laugh and smile, to show you that the world is your oyster, that despite all of the shitty things you may face at some point, life is beautiful and good.
Your names are pretty special; I’ve been making lists of little girl names for years, trying to find the perfect ones for you. One thing I knew as I got older was that I didn’t want to give you typical names, ones that have been over used (especially in our family)-Bailey, Chloe, Jasmine, Londyn, Paris, Alexis, Kamryn, Katilyn, McKenzie, Madisyn, Taylor, etc. My mom named me Davia (that’s day-vee-yah); I like it sometimes, but it’s too hard to pronounce and the meaning is something I’ve never quite lived up to. When I thought about your names, I wanted them to be simple, special, and something you could be proud of.
Adisyn, I initially had no intention of naming you that. You were supposed to be named after two very important people, my godmom Lena and my favorite singer Aaliyah; Alena was what I called you for a long time. I loved my godmom so much, but she died when I was about 7; Aaliyah was my favorite singer when I was growing up (she still is). Somehow, the name Adisyn just sort of came to me in the last year or so. Your first name is interesting; I named you after one of my favorite television characters, Addison Montgomery. I changed the spelling because I didn’t the way it was spelled and felt like it wouldn’t suit you. Addison Montgomery was a character on Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice. She was a doctor, but, not just any kind of doctor. She was a world class surgeon with like 10 different specialties. She was strong, funny, odd, complex, flawed, confident, all of the things I wished I was. To most people, she was a beautiful woman with a perfect life, but on the inside, she struggled to find her place in the world. In the end, she found it; she got her guy and her kid.
As for your middle name, that’s always been a given; you have my mother’s first name as your middle name, so wear it with pride, because my mother, your grandmother, is an amazing, phenomenal woman. I could go on and on about how she is literally made of magic (all Black women are), but her, she’s a special kind of magic. She has a direct hook up to Jesus, so always be on your best behavior around her!
And to my darling Eden, your name is just as special. The name Eden comes from the bible, it’s a place where the first man and woman are said to have existed. It means delight; for me, it also represents the beginning, biblically speaking. The Garden of Eden is a beautiful place where man and woman were meant to peacefully coexist and live life with no sickness, no diseases, no famine, poverty, etc. Eden is the place where we as Christians want to get back to. To me, Eden is a state of being, a mindset, a place of serenity. That concept in itself is powerful enough. I’m still deciding on a middle name for you; it’ll come to me soon enough, don’t you worry.
I think about the day I’ll be able to hold either one or both of you in my arms. I think about how soft and tiny and little you’ll be when you’re first born. I can’t wait for that day, because there’s just something about holding your baby for the first time after they’ve spent nine months kicking the crap out of your ribs, forcing you to have to pee all of the time that you cannot explain. I can’t wait to kiss your chubby little cheeks and tell you how much I love you. Because you my darling girls, are so special to me, you really are. I promise that your childhood will be magical and special and as wonderful as I can make it. My parents were unable to protect me from some aspects of grown-up life, but I promise to shield you as best as possible. You are children, so I don’t want you to worry about anything but being children.
One of my mother’s biggest flaws was that she didn’t really let me be me; I promise to let you do that. Of course, every mom’s dream is to see if their child is anything like them. I’ll admit, I’d love it if at least one of you were like me but I promise to let you be you. I intend to be a parent who lets you grow into whoever God wants you to be. So if you want to be a girly girl or a complete tomboy, I’m here to let you do that. Of course, there will be boundaries, but I want your growth to be personal and something that isn’t tainted by certain rules and social norms. Speaking of social norms, I don’t plan on raising you with them. Social norms are these silly things that were created by people to group everyone into neat little boxes. They’re things like ‘boys wear blue’ and ‘girls can’t play football’. If you want to do that, by all means, do it. You are free to like what you want, to wear silly clothes (unless it’s school or church), you’re free to play with dolls or a ball. I want you to be happy, that’s my ultimate goal.
Now, we will have rules and I expect you to follow them. My rules aren’t hard or overbearing, they’re simple things that I think will help you grow up to be wonderful, wonderful young women. My number one rule is to be true to yourself, FIRST. My next rule is to do the very best you can in anything that you do. Be kind to all people, respect others, don’t fight each other or your siblings, be brave, be strong, be proud of who you are. There are other rules but, those are the most important ones for right now. Everything else I will try and guide you into, that’s my job, to guide you through life. I’m not supposed to force or push anything on you, because the more I try and force something on you, the more you’ll resist.
One more thing…you’re Black. I know that seems silly to say but, I feel the need to point this out to you because being Black is part of your identity. It’s what makes you so special. Girls, you will more than likely grow up in a world where Black people in America (that’s where we live) aren’t treated very nicely. Depending on how light or how brown your skin is, people will treat you a certain way. But I want you to rise above that. Yes, you are Black and yes, life will be harder because you are Black, but don’t let the limitations of this country define who you turn out to be. I want you to know, to realize, to engrain into your soul just how beautiful your Black is. I want you to love everything about being Black-your hair, whether it’s curly or super kinky (some people call it nappy), whether you have big lips, a big wide nose, whether you’re as a light as cream in coffee, or as Black as the moon, you are perfect. You are magic, you are God’s most beautiful creation, and don’t you ever forget that.
Speaking of God, because I’ve brought him up a couple of times in this letter, yes, he’s real. I plan to raise you believing that. Now, what you choose to subscribe to when you grow up and when you have kids of your own is totally up to you, but my job as your mom is to give you that solid foundation, to teach you about a God who is loving, and kind, and wants you to love him and to love others. I feel like explaining God and Jesus right now will be complicated, but just know that there is someone, somewhere out there in the universe who put the stars in the sky, who allows the sun to shine, who decided you were so special that he sent you all the way down from heaven to be my little girls. That’s who I want to be your first love, God, not me, not your dad, not some silly little boy, but God, your true creator. You see, if you love him first, then you learn how to love yourself and finally those around you. If you can learn how to love God, really and truthfully love God first, then I’ve done my job as a mom.
Now, we get to the hard stuff: boys.
Girls, I want you to know that you are special; I’ve said this a million times already but you need to hear it. You are special, and you are loved, you are so, so loved by me, by your father, by our parents, and everyone else around you. I need you to get that first; you are loved, no matter what happens, always carry that with you in your heart. I need you to know that because as women, you are the essence of life. Life literally begins with you and through you. Someday, when you’re older, you’ll go through this weird thing called puberty, where your body starts to change from that of a little girl into a grown woman. And with those changes come lots of responsibilities. As your bodies begin to change, I want you to celebrate that, to embrace the newfound womanhood you will grow into.
The one thing I wish I had growing up was someone there to tell me that the strange changes happening to my body were amazing and powerful and wonderful. Instead, I lived with insecurities about myself, and I was left to fend for myself in terms of sexual encounters. These sexual encounters shaped how I saw myself, how I viewed men, and love in general. Perhaps the most important lesson I need you to understand is that your body, it belongs to you. Never, ever, ever, ever, allow anybody-man or woman, to touch you or take from your body. I want us to have such a good relationship that if, in the unfortunate event that something should happen to you, I would hope that you don’t feel afraid to tell me. Keep in mind that no, ALWAYS means no.
We could talk about boys and losing your virginity but, I’ll table that for another day. The only thing I’ll say is again, learn to love yourself, FIRST. Boys can wait, sex can wait, learn to love the hell out of Adisyn and Eden.
I could write to you all day, give you little anecdotes for how to get through certain things, but I’d rather wait to tell you all of those things as I watch you grow up.
So I’ll close my letter with one last affirmation of how much I love you, of how special you are to me, of how I would willingly give my life for you. The love I have for children who have yet to come into existence is one that amazes me every day. Each breath I take, each risk, each time I defy the odds, each time I refuse to do what is considered normal, I do it with you in mind. I live for you, so that my sins, the sins and the mistakes of my parents, and their parents, and their parents before them and so on, do not continue with you.
So I wait, patiently, anxiously, like a child waiting on Christmas morning, for the day that I learn that your existence has finally come to be, for the day I learn that you are girls, to the day that I spend grueling hours in labor, to the moment you take your first breath until your last, I will love you.