According to the sonogram technician, Dave and I are expecting a daughter. Daughter. I am intentionally using that word, rolling it over and over again off my tongue, because it means so much more to me than simply, “girl”.
I don’t yet know the significance of this chromosomal detail, or the new trajectory that it just took my life. But I know, without question, that I am now on a new path entirely.
Once I discovered I was pregnant, I honestly did not know if I preferred a boy or a girl. Either one terrified me. A baby I felt ready for. A son or a daughter, I did not. I do not. And now that I know that this little gift of a child will have more body parts alike with me than her father, I can’t help but feel as if she’s already looking to me.
Daughters need their fathers. There is absolutely no question about that. That’s another blog post for another time. But daughters become the women they become because of their mothers. For the good and the bad.
I now have this aching temptation to clean up my life – censor what I listen to, become more disciplined in everything, from Bible study to my skin care routine, and deny every selfish desire, interest and want. “Get perfect” is the charge running through my brain. “Quickly” is the timetable.
Oh, how defeating that is. I have set my target on perfection before. I always miss.
But I know something that will be even more difficult – to cease striving, accept my mess, and here’s the kicker, let my daughter in it with me. It’s terrifying, I know, but there’s stir in my heart that makes me think it will be worth it.
I want to commit to be honest (not callous and apathetic, but vulnerable) with my struggles. I want a peace about showing her, often unintentionally, how imperfect Mommy is. I want to accept that I will let her see me hurt people I love, let her see me try to find life in fleeting things, let her see me hurt myself, and her knowing it before I even do myself. This is envitable. And it would be a mistake to pretend it didn’t happen, once it does.
I believe that children need to see their parent’s humanity. They need to see us struggle when they’re five, again when they’re ten, and again when they’re thirteen. But what they want is to see that we’ve grown.
A front row seat to my own spiritual transformation and maturation might be the best possible gift I can give my daughter. Because with that comes hope that she, too, is not destined to the bondage of her own insecurities, hurts, and failings; and at the same time free to reject the temptation of perfection.
I don’t need to be perfect for my daughter. I don’t need to be strong. I don’t even need to be beautiful, or healthy, or smart. But what I do need is courage – courage to face my own brokenness and shortcomings, courage to accept grace and truth, and courage and openness to change.