The Sisterhood of Girls


I was always petrified of what it would mean to raise a girl, to see her become a woman - afraid I might fail her, set a poor example, love her in a way that was half-assed, harm her with my own insecurities, resent her. I preferred boys to girls since kindergarten years when the worst a boy could do was give me cooties. Meanwhile little girls...

So when during my first pregnancy, the ultrasound tech said I was having a boy, Archer, I cried. First, out of joy and then, relief that I could do this. I could be a great boy's mother. I had done it before.

With Fable I wasn't so sure.

... ... ...

She pulls herself up on the couch where I lay panting - my jeans unbuttoned and rolled at the waist, belly exposed. It's a thousand degrees and Fable is still damp from face-planting in the dog's water bowl.

"Hi," she says before falling hard into my belly.

"Kiss?" I ask.

"Mmmmm," she sings, bringing her lips to mine before clapping. We clap together. And then without prompting her, she makes the "mmmm" sound again and leans in. She pulls away and tilts her head, looks up and I think, for this moment that I must be the most loved human in the land.

She pulls away slowly, her eyes flickering open, smiles and points, squints her nose and starts clapping again.

Her happiness is palpable. Sometimes it even stings.

... ... ...

Fable turns one next Friday so naturally nostalgia has found me. I've spent much of my time this past week reading through a year's worth of blog entries, a first for me.

I usually hate reading what I've written. I've never even read my book all the way through. It's too hard to find weaknesses in yesterday's reflection. But scanning through the past twelve months I found myself in completely new territory - I found myself enjoying what I read instead of cringing, cowering, punching myself in the gut repeatedly for being such an asshole. I was inspired and in love and confident!

It sort of felt like I reading myself grow up. Embrace the wonder and badassery that is woman.



... ... ...

"Coming Fable," I call from the end of the hall. "One second!"

She is crying for me and I'm on the toilet. I left her in the other room to play with her stacking cups so I could pee in peace but she doesn't understand "peace." All she knows is to cry when she turns around and I'm not there.

The pat, pat, pat of her knees on the hardwood gets progressively louder until her face appears around the corner. She found me. Her face says, "phew!" before crawling straight to me, giggling hysterically, punch-drunk from little sleep, pat, pat, pat...

She holds her arms open and widens her eyes.

"I'm almost done, I know. I know."

I wipe, flush and wash my hands as she slaps my ankles with hands brown from dirty floors."

I pick her up and she wraps her hands around my neck like we've been apart for a thousand years, doesn't let go.


Over the years I've had equally as many negative experiences with women as I did girls as a child: partnerships that faltered, identities foiled, threats and hate-mail from friends that were, a thousand lessons learned on the kinds of women I ought to surround myself with. I was always afraid of girls and now I understand why. I've spent much of my life attracted to the wrong ones.


I'm not afraid of women nor ashamed as I once was by my femininity. I'm slowly, carefully, finding my people. Surrounding myself with women who inspire, guide, elevate. No use spending time with people who don't.

Fable taught me that one.


I'm not overwhelmed by the prospect of guiding my daughter. I look forward to sharing with her my weaknesses so that she can build her own strengths. Of empowering her and myself in the process, taking pride in my femininity and helping her cultivate and respect hers.

I am proud of the woman she has made me. Thank heaven for little girls.



I assumed that mothering Fable would change my perspective, perception, livelihood, but I hadn't expected that giving birth to a daughter would help me find my worth as a woman.

Cue Spice Girls.

GGC

53 comments:

bluejeanamy | 11:46 AM

thaaank you for writing this; i so needed to read it.

i'm having a girl in february and while i'm excited, i'm also really nervous - for all the reasons you mentioned. girls have always = drama to me.

i love hearing how fable's changed those worries around into something beautiful. <3

abuddinglife | 11:54 AM

This is why one day potentially having a daughter scares the *insert any word here* out of me. Said beautifully and inspiring. Thank you for being you.

Beth | 12:06 PM

That baby of yours has a great face. Both your babies, actually. Love feeling the love you share.

xoxo

ForLikeEver | 12:24 PM

Being a mother of 2 girls myself, I really enjoyed reading this! Thank you! I LOVE how you point out the fact that you can choose who you surround yourself with, and I really appreciate your beautiful sentiments on raising a girl. You are a bright shining light!

Jen | 12:34 PM

Wow...beautifully written. It makes me reconsider my desire that our second be another boy. Someday.

The Cupcake Wardrobe Shop Blog | 1:09 PM

I truly believe that being a mother makes you better at being everything else, too.

Love the QBC!

carly | 1:40 PM

Her hair is getting dark! Have her eyes stayed green?

Karen | 2:32 PM

I love my baby girl, I know exactly how you feel. I love that look when your in the bathroom (always the bathroom) and they come around the corner and are SO excited to see you.

There is so much I want to teach my baby girl as she grows into a woman. I just don't want to screw it up.

Baby in Broad | 2:43 PM

So wonderful: "I look forward to sharing with her my weaknesses so that she can build her own strengths." Fable is a lucky, lucky girl.

Jinxi | 2:52 PM

This was such a beautiful post! Thank you for writing such inspirational words.

Having a daughter is challenging, but the most amazing and enchanting roller coaster ride of them all.

My daughter is now 15 and I find myself loving each & every day with her more and more. I always feared that when she became a teenager that she would want nothing to do with me. But the happy surprise is that we seem to be closer than ever before. I am so proud of the person she is becoming and lo & behold, I think she is proud of me too. Who would have thunk it? =)

Daughters rock... and so do their moms!

Winx, Jinxi

Melissa | 3:46 PM

I feel exactly the same way! I always said that when I had kids, I wanted boys. Lo and behold, I gave birth to my daughter 9 months ago, and I can't imagine being anyone else's Mommy.

Thank you for the beautiful and inspiring post!

P.S. I loved your book!

mommymae | 3:49 PM

what a beautiful reminder our children are that we can find things about ourselves that we never knew existed. i'm so so happy for you.

NewSingleMama | 4:14 PM

I honestly felt the same when I was pregnant. I felt I just couldn't handle a little girl and it would be too much drama .. and too much maintenance for being a single mom s I was so happy and relieved to have my baby boy.

However, I'm hoping the next one is a chick baby :)

Mrs. Cline | 4:31 PM

You are both so incredibly beautiful. And so, so lucky to have each other.

Terri Fischer | 4:33 PM

yes! i get this completely. awesome. :)

Ava | 4:59 PM

A mother who radiates self acceptance and self love actually vaccinates her daughter against low self esteem.

---Naomi Wolf---

This is my favorite quote. This was a great entry.

Adventures In Babywearing | 5:22 PM

I didn't think it was possible, but the same exact thing has happened to me.

I look at my life, the choices I made and still need to make and I envision my daughter and what I'd want for her in a similar situation, and always I want better for her... so I make the choice that would be better for me, too.

Steph

Staci M.W. | 5:49 PM

Hi! You know, as we are the same age, yet one of us remains single and childless -- you have taken some, if not most, of the fear out of me when it comes to having babies of my own someday over the rainbow. You, your daughter, your family, are a stellar inspiration. Continued thanks and LOVE.

vincent | 6:25 PM

I just found your blog thanks to Amy... I loved this. I have two daughters, one 17 1/2 and the other 5 1/2... Anyhow, I just love this blog and am so glad that I found this... I will be a regular!

Steph | 7:31 PM

A really great post. And that last pic just blows me away. You both are so beautiful.

Wanderluster | 7:57 PM

I hope I feel the same way about my daughter and myself someday...for now, I'm still in the 'worried to screw it all up' phase. You are an inspiration.

Sharnanigans | 8:24 PM

lovely story. I feel compelled to write about how my little boy inspires me now- yet to have a girl - but hope one day to relate.

Armonia | 9:38 PM

you write so beautifully :)
I have a true friendship with my mother now that we are both adults, It dawned on me one moment when I was on my bed with my 1 month girl that I suddenly felt this big rush of feelings for my child, feelings of love that I never had experienced before, and right then and there I called my mom and told her that I finally got how much she loves me!! I always new that my " loved me" but I think I did not understand the love a parent feels for their child, we both cryed on the phone, but I will never forget now. I hope I can have the same conversation with my children when they grow up.
thanks for sharing your writing with us.

Anna | 9:40 PM

This is exactly how I feel. Just had my first baby 5 months ago and she is a girl. I was terrified of raising a girl and always wanted just boys. But I LOVE having a girl! And now I'm not so sure that I want a boy at all... all girls would be okay with me :)

Lexie Loo & Dylan Too | 9:42 PM

She is so sweet! I absolutely love having a baby girl! Great post.

Alyxherself | 8:20 AM

Amen to that last line. I always give my daughter credit for taking my ignorant 23 yr old ass to school, teaching me how, after a life lived in fear, to live with some dignity, courage, and boundaries. Yay, girls. oh, and boys :)

Lindy | 10:53 AM

Beautiful words. I'm the opposite. When I found out I'd be having a boy, I freaked out and spent the next several months of pregnancy feeling upset and anxious and even angry. I mean, yes, there has always been girl-girl drama and meanness (I'm one of three sisters so I know from girl drama!), but I always had more problems with the boys. And their aggression. And hogging learning spaces. And noise. And blase assumption that they deserved to be the lords of the universe. I always saw the catty petty girl drama as a fight among those who were shut out of the real power network for the scraps, the leftovers, the margins of space.

Now that I have my own little boy--he's only three months old--I have discovered that it isn't boys I hate and fear. It's the lousy culture that dictates terms--to girls and to boys. Not that biology has no say in the matter, but just that I *can* dictate some terms myself, and raise a boy who wants to share space, empower others, listen and be kind... And that, by raising that kind of boy, I will be helping to make culture safe for girls to be who they are and not ave to fight for what is left over.

I loved this post. Thanks!

Ray | 10:57 AM

Rebecca you are such a WONDERFUL writer! I CAN ONLY WISH to be as good a writer as you. Such amazing entries that you've written to Fable. Such beautiful words that you should make a book out of all of them, as a gift to her. I hope you're saving these entries in some kind of hard copy form.

And you could never love Fable, "half-assed." That is NOT possible. You are a great mother and Fable is so very lucky to have you.

I can't believe she'll be a year old next week. Time flys (I've been reading since Fable was a few months old and I can't believe she's about to celebrate a birthday)!

Patricia | 12:03 PM

Woooowwwww, amazing post Rebecca.

Thanks for sharing.

Regards from Mexico,

Patricia

Maggie May | 1:46 PM

Me, too.

Mom101 | 5:19 PM

This is exquisite Bec. As she gets older there are so many things that you'll find you're forced to confront, good and bad, and how great that we never stop growing.

I love how we take turns with our children, alternately playing teacher and student. It's an unexpected joy.

Trista | 6:52 PM

I absolutely loved the last line of this post - I feel much the same way about having my daughter. I'm sure I'd feel the same mama-bear impulses for a son, but having a daughter has made me think about what type of girl, and then woman, I'd like her to be, and how I'm going to guide her as she grows. This has led me to think about what type of person I am, and to really embrace the amazing women around me. I have a great relationship with my mom, and pray that I'll have the same with my daughter.

mrs.notouching | 7:30 PM

Gawd I love your writing! Love it, love it, love it. You are beautiful inside and out and Fable is so lucky to have you as her mother.

Suzanne | 6:46 AM

Beautiful post. Just beautiful. So much of what you say rings true.

Makes me want to go home and hug my daughter!

Thank you.

mpotter | 7:44 AM

wow!

WOW!!!

Issas Crazy World | 10:20 AM

I just love this post. Gah. Crying.

Beautiful, just beautiful. This post and that amazing little girl of yours.

Anonymous | 10:32 AM

as someone who is your age (28) and has always had trouble making and keeping female friends this struck a chord with me. boys = always easy, as friends, lovers, and partners. girls = always a struggle, at least for me. i am several years away from having children, so I don't have a daughter to connect me to my lady-self. i'm hoping maybe someday you will write a more in-depth post about your transition into being more comfortable with a female community. how did you do it? connecting with new women through the blog, or was it something else? i am also in los angeles, and I feel much like you seemed to when you were with an infant archer - without non-superficial friends. the difference is that I can still go out and get shitty with them at parties and shows - but i'm getting sick of that. anyway, would love to see more insight from you, someday, about developing and keeping female friendships, because you seem to have discovered the secret. love your blog and book!

Chris | 11:41 AM

Ditto! I have two boys and this summer was blessed with a little girl. Scared me to death! One day at a time though and I hope I can prove to be a strong, feminine woman to her as we grow together.

Love reading about Archer and Fable.

Tricia

Glenda | 12:03 PM

Beautiful post! I have a son and a daughter. I had a great relationship with my mom and always wanted that with my daughter. I can tell you that it's everything I've ever imagined it to be, and then some! Love your writing style. So sincere. So eloquent! Thanks for sharing Archer and Fable with all of us. They are beautiful! Keep doing what you're doing!

Erin | 1:02 PM

I have always wondererd why can't women have a solidarity and understanding of eachother instead we are jealous, spiteful and just plain ugly to eachother. Ugh, I am included in that group but I just don't get it. There must be some darwinian explanation for it.

PS-Rebecca, there was just so NOT enough of your fashion advice on the latest momversation.

Renee | 2:17 PM

I always wanted boys. I grew up with them, knew how they operated, knew how to put them in their place, and so on.

I admit, I was pouty when we found out Moanna was a girl. What would I do with her? Let's face it, I'm not girly enough to raise a little lady! I can barely handle my own hormones, what am I supposed to do with hers?

However, over the past two years, Moanna and I have come to terms with each other. She is quite girly, and very passionate about everything. She pushes me forward and forces me to get over the fears I have.

Jane | 5:46 PM

Can feel the love.
Kudos!

Good Enough Mom | 7:15 PM

Re: "...giving birth to a daughter = worth as a woman":

Yeah, I was afraid of that. Unlike you, I wanted a girl (for that very reason), but had 2 boys. I hope I didn't lose out on this piece of life...seriously, I struggle with that question! Thanks for being so honest.

ps--just so you know, I wouldn't trade my boys for anything...but I wonder how motherhood would be different with a daughter...

Amanda | 6:05 AM

As the mom to a two year old girl, I completely understand where your initial fears were coming from. It IS scary. Thank you for this post. It's so right on. Fable has one great mama!

Kendra | 6:11 AM

I'm a few days late, but I just want to say thank you for the breathtaking insight.

My relationship with my mom, my sister, all the girls and women I know, they were always complicated, to say the least. It seems like they usually are. When my first son was born, I was scared; I didn't know what to do with a boy! But I figured it out, and it's been amazing. Same with my second boy. When my daughter came along, there were lots of feelings, most of them tied in some way to the relationships I'd already had--here's a chance to have a mother/daughter relationship better than the one I already have; boy, I hope she's a more together teenager than I was; will her self-esteem suffer as mine did, and what can I do to prevent it?

But it never occurred to me that my relationship with her could exist on its own, not just as a reflection of all the female relationships I already have, that this could be our chance to forge our own path, not just react to the ones already there. She's 18 months old, and things haven't yet started to get complicated. She's breathtaking in her beauty, her stubbornness, her lust for life. And I'm so grateful to have suddenly realized so early in her life that we can do this together, make ours a special relationship all our own. Thank you.

Sarah | 8:38 AM

Ahhh, perfect! The same happens to me as I raise my daughter. Loving her helps me grow into + love myself. :)

Her Bad Mother | 11:10 AM

Totally, totally, totally. Also, yes. And, ditto.

Having a daughter lets us live the path through girlhood anew and experience it differently and find ourselves, there, differently.

Yes.

SweetWICK | 3:23 PM

Wow. I'm not even a mom, yet and this post made me feel a sense of pride toward motherhood and all it means to this world. Great job!

Amie | 3:40 PM

Oh I love this post. I have been fortunate to not have had the bad relationships with other women that you have had. But that is probably because I have always had a small circle of female friends. Yes we have fought, not talked, hurt one another, thought we would never be friends again. But then we cooled down, let time pass, and got in touch again. These relationships have taught me so much about compassion, understanding, and love. As much or more as with any of my romantic relationships with men.

I will admit though, before I got pregnant, I thought I wanted a boy for one reason only. I wanted my daughter to have a big brother. I had the best of the best and I always felt (feel) lucky to have an older brother. But as soon as I got pregnant, I knew I was having a girl and I loved her from that moment and nothing else mattered.

Anonymous | 11:43 PM

i dont like the tracks. i wish u would write more. did u get a new job? i want ur beautiful reflection on life's happenings and thereon after.

The Absence of Alternatives | 5:36 PM

This is beautiful: "...that I must be the most loved human in the land." THIS. Is what makes it all worth while.

Heidi | 8:58 PM

You said it, sister! I know the fear and the joy of a first born son and followed by a daughter. Beautiful!

Sharon | 8:59 AM

Wow. Spine still tingling and arm hair still on-end. What a beautiful post. I gave birth to my second daughter in late-June, Bryce. I felt much the same as you did about girls vs. boys but my fate was to have two little girls. Your post put into words the exact feelings I have about why two girls are just what this momma and woman needed. Thanks.