If you haven’t watched Sarah Kay share “If I should have a daughter…” as part of her TED talk, then grab the Kleenex, chocolate, and the women in your life and click HERE to remedy that. Stunning. Tender. Powerful. And brave.
….And she’s going to learn that this life will hit you,
in the face,
wait for you to get back up, just so it can kick you in the stomach
but getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air.
There is hurt, fear that cannot be fixed by band aids or poetry
so the first time she realizes that Wonder Woman isn’t coming
I’ll make sure she knows she does not have to wear the cape all by herself
because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal…
The first time that I watched Sarah Kay in this magnificent performance, I think I begin to cry at the line “getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air” and then find resolve that my daughter will “never wear the cape all by herself” two lines later. So as Abby counts down the days until she turns 5, and I count up the years until I will have to let her go out into this world, a letter to my daughter…the woman growing up in my nest…the woman who will face the hard and the beautiful that this life has to offer…
You turn 5 in a mere matter of weeks, and my heart aches to surround you with magic the rest of your days and yet knows that I am merely your haven – not your sail nor your rudder nor the ship you may choose to captain. Simply the calm harbor you will return to.
I look into your eyes and feel your body relaxed in rest and feel inadequate to be your mother. But you were my gift, fiercely fought for and deeply loved. I walked a road of heartache and pain (that I’m sure broke my own mama’s heart) in order to conceive you. And I knew from the very beginning with deep soul whispers that HOPE would be your anchor. Chase hope all of your days, my sweet girl.
…You’re the girl with small hands and big eyes who never stops asking for more…
…don’t you ever apologize for the way your eyes refuse to stop shining,
your voice is small but don’t ever stop singing…
Chase hope, sing loudly, dance wildly, close your eyes and dream wondrously, Abigail. You will undoubtedly make mistakes. I make them daily. You will undoubtedly disappoint yourself. I do that daily as well. But there is forgiveness and grace and the next morning and the next challenge ahead.
I pray for you that you never feel like you must wear Wonder Woman’s cape alone. I pray for a godly, honest, grace-giving community to surround you, cheer for you, and stay up late watching movies with you when the days knock you down. I pray that you always know the tender mercies of sweet air in your lungs and love in your heart. I pray that you dare to live outside the mold, speak bravely your truth, and care not what other’s think about you.
I pray that I can raise you without some of the shackles that I’ve had to shake off. I pray that you don’t analyze your body’s imperfections and punish it because you find it lacking. I pray that you don’t believe in Jesus because it is what “you must do,” but because you find comfort and joy in His Presence living in you and through you. I pray that you don’t seek the praise of others because you lack confidence in yourself. I pray that you don’t feel lonely because you instead choose to work hard to find your tribe. I pray that you don’t limit yourself by what you are “allowed to feel” or to say or to do because you are woman.
Because you are a woman.
And you are strong.
You are allowed to crave intimacy and let yourself dance free. You are allowed to wear what you want or what you don’t want no matter the style because you ARE beautiful. You are compassionate and empathetic and charismatic. Don’t run from those traits, but use them to defend those who need defending, weep with those who are sad, and laugh deeply and often.
I pray that you are mindful of the power of your words and actions. I pray that you care for your own heart and protect the hearts’ of others. I pray that you are a woman who gives grace.
I pray that one day you are a mama and understand all these sappy letters I’ve written you since you were born.
Raising a daughter is a daunting task. And I have no wisdom yet, other than don’t do it alone. Do it with your village of women. Do it with Jesus. Do it with coffee in your cup and chocolate hidden somewhere in your kitchen.
I love you, Abigail Nichelle.
Family photography shots taken throughout Abby’s life by Haven Life & Photo