She takes my hand and leads me over to the couch, I sit down and pull her on to my lap. “Moana” she says, and I turn on the movie for the 200th time. She cuddles her head into me and I start braiding her hair, and she is still in a way her brother still isn’t when we watch movies. And I think to myself that I waited a long time for this moment. Waited a long time to watch Disney movies with my daughter.
This is what having a daughter is like.
She gets up in the morning and before I have changed her diaper she is asking for her shoes and her necklace and her hair barrette. All things she wears every day. And it’s funny to me how much of a Girl she is. When I named her Grace my father-in-law said to me, “it’s a beautiful name you better hope she’s not a tomboy”. Not that it would matter either way but I love your all-consuming girliness as if you knew I had waited all my life to buy tutus and ridiculously cute shoes. That I had been waiting for someone to take my hand and let me play princesses with them.
You show off your dress to anyone who cares to notice and you love saying cheese for the camera. You like to pick your own clothes and do your own thing. You are content in a tutu dress and rainboots watching Thomas the Train.
And while you maybe girly you are far from meek or mild or passive. You are full of moods and fire and demands. You don’t like to be ignored. You like to be in charge and you are constantly pulling your older brother around the room. You are stubborn and determined. While your brother is still happy to let others do things for him, you, my daughter, are fond of saying, “no help”.
Having a daughter is watching her and her father together and my heart melting in ways it never has. It’s seeing the joy in her face when he comes home at night and the way she wraps her hand around his finger and demands that he drive her to school in his truck. It’s finally understanding what “daddy’s little girl means”
It’s hope mixed with fear and uncertainty and determination. It’s wanting so much better for her. Wanting a better world. A safer world. It’s praying that she will be valued and respected and heard. It’s worrying about her in ways I never worried about my son or even about myself. It’s 30 plus years of knowing what it’s like to be female and wanting better for her.
It’s wanting her to shine. It’s wanting her to always remain true to herself to never have to make herself quieter or smaller to fit into someone else’s world. It’s hoping that she always wears rainboots and tutus and is 1000% herself.