The weight of it sits on my shoulders, but the lightness buoys my soul. I am a raiser of Women. Women who, I hope, will have every opportunity to spread their wings and feel the freedom of wind ruffling their feathers. To get there, my girls will need me to be strong, to be wise, to be present. Just today, this International Day of Women, I was reminded of the dirt that keeps us grounded when an acquaintance suggested, without any attempt at veiled politeness, that there is some lacking in my gaggle of girls, and did I ever think about trying for a boy? She seemed slightly stunned when I said no, I was happy to have my girls.
I don’t know how to describe in this passing conversation how I am watching Womanhood grow in every possible way. With one daughter, her growth is an understanding of her deep feelings and her power is her empathy. Another’s future is wrapped up in an energetic, never-say-no courage. The last is still unfurling, but I can see power in her eyes and in each feisty jump. And I am blessed, and tasked, to guide them, to protect their fragile hearts and bodies without stifling, to build responsibility without breaking innocence, to encourage confidence without creating self-centeredness. More importantly, I am responsible in some small part to create a world where each of my girls can flourish. I want their world to be a beautiful garden of potential. But I know the adage that every rose has its thorns, and certainly I recognize that every garden is built in dirt, so while I can’t create utopia, I can help grow their bravery and shrink their fear. Then, when they find themselves in a muddy patch, they will have the self-reliance to keep slogging through. And while the world will sell them the lie that they are completely self-sufficient, I will never stop reminding them that they are the beloved of a God who created them uniquely to fulfill a purpose seated deep inside their souls.
I pray that like the strong women who were there for me I will have the perseverance to always be there for them. I hope I can slog through my own puddles with grace to show them it can be done. And this beautiful, and scary, idea of mothering girls reminds me of what is wonderful about being a woman. It is strength and softness, intuition and intelligence, grace and grit. Moreover, I am overwhelmed by the wonder of being a raiser of Women, for what better task could there be?