So last week I was hanging out with a radioactive wand rolling around my belly giving me a sneak peek of this little human I’ve been baking for the past six months. The scan revealed a healthy human heart with four ventricles, a healthy human brain with two hemispheres, two little kidneys, a tiny little bladder, a kinda gross placenta actively playing life force, two little arms up in the air (waving around like they just didn’t care), and two little legs kicking enough to rival Chuck Norris. A little flick of the wand to jostle the critter around a bit revealed what every impatient parent to be wants to see – the gender.
I’m having a daughter.
My reaction was somewhat nonchalant. “ah yeah. A daughter. Cool.“ Then as days passed the d-word seemed to sink in more and more – tickling the parts of my cerebellum that reminded me “hey you were a little girl once too.” A little girl who was typically frowned upon for playing in the dirt and climbing trees. Who was always reminded to “sit like a lady” the moments she HAD to wear a dress. One who typically played with boys because they were more fun, then as I got older their favorite game was stomping all over my fragile heart. Then there was makeup, and competing with other girls who were so goddamn mean, and then my own mother who was also once a little girl too and had those relating experiences and hormones that typically just made us lock horns, as most females do when they’re in the same room together for an extended amount of time.
Fuck. Now I remember why I wanted a boy. Girls are unique and special in their own way but we’re much more than sugar and spice and everything nice. Quite the contrary, we’re also high maintenance, emotionally driven, oh so complicated creatures – who sadly to this day are still oppressed by society and the opposite sex that we share this planet with. If you disagree, just turn on the news. And if you still disagree, kindly kiss the fattest part of my ass.
A big step in my sobriety was to learn to take things one day at a time. Which I do for the most part – I’ve found life works better that way. Yesterday doesn’t mean shit and tomorrow isn’t promised. But when I feel this little asshole kick around in my womb I can’t help but worry about the future. Things ranging from what I’ll have to deal with in a few months – telling others not to adorn her with princess garb and god awful watermelon sized ribboned hairbands because I want a child and not an accessory, how both of us will get enough sleep through the night, if she doesn’t latch on, if her cloth diapers and onesies that I’ve gotten will be too big or small, if our dogs will adjust well to her – to the next 18 years.. what if she doesn’t get her mama’s tomboy genes and wants to actually be a little girl (which I know nothing about), her first period, her first heartbreak, how to teach her to be enough of a bitch to not be railroaded on a day to day basis but not enough to drive everyone away. I’m sure these answers will come, but I’m wired to want to save the world before sundown. Or maybe it’s as easy as raising the last young female that I’ve had experience rearing – – if that’s the case she’ll be able to catch a tennis ball in midair before she’s two and will ALWAYS know where the cookie jar is.
I’ve seen a lot of blog posts/articles/what have you – about the # of things I will teach my daughter. Some of them are priceless. Some of them probably should have never seen the light of day. But I figured that I should toy around with my own list. I’m a visual learner and I really get things engrained when I write things down – so I’m jotting them down in the blogosphere for me to reference when I start doubting myself, and if I have a reader that wants to take away from it – that’s great too.
Here goes nothin’
Things I Want to Teach Seana
– Being human is weird. We’re not too far off from apes. I’ll take you to the zoo to look at them sometime. They like to play with their own poop and pick their nose with everyone watching. There are building blocks in our bodies called chromosomes that make us who we are. Humans have 23 and apes have 24. Just a single one more. We often forget this when we think we can overcome life and nature and be a superior force. This often comes back to haunt us. But if you keep that simple fact in the back of your brain, I think you can be humble enough to trudge through this life stuff.
– Don’t be in a hurry to grow up. Spend all your time outside. Play in dirt, climb trees, splash around in puddles. We may get weird looks because you’re a little girl and society frowns upon that. But I see you as a child, and new to this planet. It’s important that you explore it. Don’t ever think you’re too old for your toys either. Play with them as long as you want. You’ll lose interest in them naturally. But as you grow into an adult and see what that has in store for you, you’re going to want to go running back to your dolls, snack time and nap at light speed. So don’t waste a single day wishing you were older.
– The only thing you can truly regret in this life is wasting your time being bitter over something. It has the power to blind your perception of an infinite number of things to have gratitude over.
– I named you after your father. When I met him, I was at the end of my rope after spending 10 years of making many, many, mistakes and I knew that things had to change or I would be in trouble. I lost a lot of friends and people who I thought cared about me during this time. But your dad was one of the few that stood by me when I had to take some very difficult steps to get my life on track. Your fellow humans are like puzzle pieces. It’s heartbreaking when you realize that they do not fit as they should. Rather than forcing them in place, save room for those that do fit – just recognize them when they come along and don’t push them away out of fear of being hurt again. Puzzles with only one piece don’t make a very good picture either.
– Upon your arrival you will meet four creatures. Three are dogs and one is a cat. These were our children before you came along. These sort of critters are easy to obtain and are common in many households. They may not seem like much but they are some of the most important things you will ever possess. They make mistakes like you and I, and you will yell at them and make them feel awful for just being curious. But moments later they will act as if it never happened and still want to be your very best friend. Their existence is simple – they want to love and be loved. They will make you feel better on your very worst days. They will also grow old faster than we ever will and only be here for a fraction of our lives which is the most unfair thing you will have to come to terms with. They will teach you a great deal about unconditional love and because they’re here for a short time – they will teach you about not taking your time with them for granted. Be kind to them, and especially kind to the ones who find themselves without a home and family.
– Go out in public in sweat pants and no makeup. While life has its all too serious moments, have the confidence and self-assurance to simply just not give a fuck sometimes.
– Your parents curse a lot. At times, I’m certain it makes us seem less intelligent than we really are. Keep that in mind.
– I’m not going to tell you not to drink, because that guarantees me that you will. Promise me that if and when you do, you will not get behind the wheel of a car or in the passenger’s seat of someone else who has been drinking. Call me or a taxi driver. I don’t care if you throw up or pee in the seat. I’ve seen worse. Hell, I’ve DONE worse. Chances are you will black out and have a moment or two of utter humiliation but this is called learning your limitations. Everyone is entitled to an incident or two of this nature. But if it starts happening rather frequently or you become known for it, please consider stopping. Don’t fall victim to what is raging through your genetics. I promise there’s so much more to life when you can wake up and remember it the next day.
– Heels suck. If you want to wear them, cool. But the discomfort, twisted ankles and stumbles trump how nice they make your legs look.
– Pay attention to history. It repeats itself. And always be on the right side of it.
– Keep a shoe box full of memories. Even if they are bad ones. Nostalgia is important.
– Question everything. Stay curious. And never stop learning.
– Don’t be embarrassed if you scream during a horror movie. It’s funny.
– There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying yourself flowers.
– Size matters. Don’t let him tell you otherwise. My apologies. I know that’s gross coming from your mother.
– If you can’t burp or fart in front of your current boyfriend, dump him. If you are encouraged to compete in burping or farting with your current boyfriend, start picking out your wedding dress.
– If you’re gay, please change every reference in this list to reflect one to the same sex. And know that I am proud of you and your choice. And if someone opposes who you are in regards of this, I will rip them to absolute shreds.
– Find something you’re passionate over and pursue it relentlessly. Even if it means you don’t want to go to college.
– Puberty sucks. And you’re going to be irrational for about 4 years. This too shall pass. For both of us. I might slap the shit out of you though.
– You will need coffee after 30. Acquire a taste for it.
– Have structure in your day but don’t be afraid to go off the grid and do something entirely different to break the monotony.
– Take your training wheels off. If you feel unbalanced or unsteady we can put them back on. But I promise riding that bike will feel natural without them in place. You’ll fall. Accidents will happen and you’re gonna get bumps and bruises. Those will fade and you’ll learn not to take that corner so sharp next time, or to watch closer for those bumps in the road. There’s also perfect days where she sun is shining and the breeze is just right and there will be patches of smooth pavement where you can ride for miles and never want to stop. You’ll miss those if you never get back on your bike. That’s worse than any bump or bruise. Fear is your worst enemy when it comes to anything – not just bike rides. Don’t be scared.
– Don’t wish for big boobs. Enjoy that flat chest as long as you can. Revel in the fact that you can button shirts all the way to the collar, you can run for miles without heavy satchels of fluid bouncing under your shoulders, and that boys will know what color your eyes are upon initially meeting you. They’re overrated. But if you do inherit this from your maternal genetics, by all means use them to your advantage. Speeding tickets aren’t cheap and neither are nice dinners.
– There is no blemish, haircut, deformity, or flaw that will ever make you look as ugly as racism does. Avoid it.
– If you love someone let them know about it as often as possible.
– I would talk to you about religion, but I think you need to figure that out for yourself. That being said, don’t let anyone else talk to you about their religion. It’s none of your business, despite how badly they want to make it that way. If they try to invoke fear or guilt into you, or try to get you to hate someone for simply being, distance yourself. Two things exist that are larger than mankind – good and evil. Your guess is as good as mine as to where they come from. You feel a certain way when you are in the company of something good; as you do when you are in the presence with evil. It’s as natural as breathing. Go with your gut. You will find your spirituality and I’m willing to bet it won’t be in a book or building.
– Don’t ever compete with another girl. You aren’t her. And more importantly, she isn’t you.
– I promise you that I will always be honest with you. Always. That being said, the truth doesn’t always feel good. It downright hurts sometime. But I would rather have you hurt in the light of being honest with you than trying to protect you and have you hurt twice over when you find out that I lied to you. I’m doing this to serve as your example, and hope that you see no reason to not be honest with me. I will love you unconditionally regardless of what truths may hurt me as well.
– Appreciate art in all its forms. Don’t listen to critics that say “this isn’t music/film/literature”. Does it move you? Does it invoke emotion? If it does, it’s art. Anyone that says otherwise is spouting opinion and not fact. And opinions amount to very little when it comes to what actually matters in this world.
– Have you gotten an ample education? Have you seen at least 3 continents? Do you know how to change a flat tire? Do you have your own bank account with ample cash saved in it? Are you with a partner who is prepared to comfort you when you break down and sob because you’re out of eggs? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, take your birth control and make your partner wear a condom. You are far from prepared to spawn. Live more.
– Log off. Yes, technology is very cool. When I was your age we actually had to hang out face to face or via telephone for a social life. Now you just hang out behind a screen. You have five senses. Not just one. There’s more to experience than just seeing. Embrace the other 4.
– Don’t feel that you have to work out or eat a certain way because you hate your body. Do those things because you love your body.
– Don’t take anything personally. Not a single thing. Humans like to talk. We like to spout off our opinions about the world as we experience it. But that’s just the thing – our experience differs greatly from the next person and so on. One’s opinion does not reflect life as you are living it. Simply observe their point of view and move on unphased. Sometimes it helps to understand it, because learning about others is important. Mommy still struggles with this – but she will overcome. As you will too.
– Heartbreak is inevitable. Men find women fascinating but their infatuation with them does not run as deep as a woman’s when it comes to a man. We embrace deeply, and in turn we get hurt badly. Relationships take effort and work, and it’s worth it as long as the other person inspires you to be a better person. If they are asking you to be someone other than yourself, please open the door for them widely so they can walk out with zero obstacles. Their lack of acceptance is not your problem, it is theirs. Furthermore, thank them. They have gotten out of the way for the person who will love you despite your flaws and will live for the uniqueness that makes you beautiful.
– Travel. Travel. Travel. I promise you a plane ticket to anywhere will bring you more fulfillment than any material possession you will ever buy with money. Seeing this world is the only way you can ever develop a full understanding of it.
– Please don’t let anyone call you a princess. You don’t need a man to save you and you don’t need to have the village fall at your feet because of your fairness.
– Rollerskating is good times. It’s even better times when you plow yourself into a fellow rollerskater that has a star on the side of her helmet. Yes it hurts and you could break a bone. But just try it once. Please?
– Don’t let anyone tell you how you’re feeling. If you’re feeling bad, don’t put on a fake smile and say you’re ok. Be honest and open. Being sad is ok. Being angry is ok. We’re all allowed to have bad days and we’re all free to let the world know about it. Just don’t set out to make anyone else’s day awful because yours is.
– Your parents will make mistakes. Before you we were just two people living for ourselves. This whole thing is scary and we probably won’t get every little thing right. But our flaws in parenthood in no way reflect the level of love and adoration that we will have for you that will undoubtedly grow with every passing day.