I can’t wait to meet her; all red and messy and curly just after birth. Her body so small, my first impulse would be to sway away from her in case I crushed her. Her tiny toes and hands would be an enigma to me, arranged like a neat row of tiny corn fields. Her small fist would always hold a certain fascination.
If I should have a daughter, I would be many things to her, all wrapped into one; mom, best friend, wonder woman, confidant, partner-in-crime, play mate, mentor, role model. The list is endless in my records. I would do right by her, do everything in my power to earn her trust, confidence and respect and not just wait to get it by virtue of being her mother. I would like her to talk to me about everything; about her painful budding breasts, her worrying monthly menses. I would like to hear about the little boys she has crushes on in her class or in her Church Sunday School. I would enjoy helping her solve her Math problems and perfect her grammar.
I would like to get into bed with her and read out fairy tales and awesome story books, perfectly mimicking the voices and stances of the characters, just to see her cheeks puff out in contained laughter then hear the amused giggles that shall follow. I will watch with awe as her eyes drift hazily, slumber beckoning her. We will then recite a verse together and hold hands in prayer. There are nights I will just enjoy hearing her small sweet voice ring out in the quiet of night, talking to God with such soundness of hope and clarity of faith that small children are capable of. I will listen to her stutter through her prayers as she learns to communicate to her Heavenly Father. I will love the goodnight routine of tucking her in tightly and kissing her, lovingly, goodnight. Right there, on her small lips.
We will grow and water a flower garden together, spending afternoons in muddy boots, the sun kissing our faces. We will skip rope and compete in climbing trees. I want to cycle away with her into the sunset, listening to her animatedly talking about her dreams and little wishes. I want her to have my aesthete wild streak. I want to infect her with the love for nature and the exhilaration of danger in the face of adventure. I want to go deep sky diving with her shrills ringing in my ears, and later we shall sky dive, adrenaline coursing through our veins. Spending time with her and talking to her shall be the very bane of my sanity, what with the excruciating drive of my career, the passions of writing, the pull of family and the relevance to society, my emotions shall be running high. Her little hands clutching me around my neck in a tight hug shall be my comfort.
She will make me mad a number of times; let me make that many times, as often as her nature simply cannot allow her to sit tight and be good, if my childhood is anything to go by. I will whip her ass, not spare that rod to teach her life lessons. She will refuse to talk to me, but then again she will forget the beating, I will be her mom and best friend again, right up to her next mistake. I want to follow the motherly traits of the generations of women before me; I will wet my handkerchief with my saliva to wipe her face. I will call her by her three full names when I want to catch her attention, especially after she has infuriated me, my emphasis being on her Surname. When I want to leave her instructions, I will give her the opposite: When I mean to tell her to wash her clothes, I will inform her that she should not wash them in case she breaks her nails, then I shall do it for her. She will look into my eyes and see the threat, my voice will ring with its weight and she will nod as understanding dawns on her. She will break my favourite mug as she washes them, perhaps the one I received from my Aunt-in-Law on my wedding day. I will grant her permission to go into the cupboard, get all the mugs, plates and thermos flasks she can get hold of and break them too. And when I have back pains, I will lie on my back and invite her to jump up and down on it, groaning under her weight and wondering what on earth I have been feeding her to get her so heavy.
Then someday she will grow up, and it shall seem so sudden to me. I will wonder aloud at how fast the years have flown by, giving me only fleeting time with the innocence of childhood to dangle the rebellion of teenage hood under my nose. Those years shall swing by, and I shall always be sighing, “Oh boy!” wishing upon the wind that I could have back my sweet bubbly baby. She will bristle every time I call her ‘baby’ sucking her teeth at me, declaring her independence in being an adult. She may turn her music up so high to try and irritate the living daylights out of me. Perhaps she will only spare us glances and specks of her time and spend it all on her phone, chatting and calling up her friends with constant exclamations of “I Know!” emitting shrill open-mouthed laughs. Perhaps she will scurry upstairs in a blur of teenage fury, banging the door behind her. Then I will know that something is troubling her. I will follow her in and my motherly kindness will win her over and compel her to share with me her deepest fears and worst regrets. I will cheer her up then her smile shall be my greatest reward. I will curtsy to her and invite her to dance to our song.
I will shed tears the day I see her off to boarding school. I will wonder how she will cope without family. I will hope she makes great and tight connections of friendship, ties that will last a lifetime. I will wonder whether she will change. But there is only so much that a mother can do. And that only leaves her to trust, that she did right by her daughter, that she brought up a woman of substance who shall stand by her principles even in the face of change.
I will neither be ashamed nor afraid to let her see and feel the full package of my emotions. I will not hide my tears or muffle my sobs in my pillow, simply to let her know that it is okay to let go. It is okay to cry when you can’t hold it any more. It is okay not to have all your ducks in a row at all times. Then she will see me strong, even before the tears have dried on my cheeks. And she will admire my inner strength and dignity, supported by the intelligence of an empowered educated woman. She will long to be like me.
Then someday I shall have the privilege of walking her down the aisle. Here, I shall try to conceal the tears that shall bristle at the tips of my eyelids. In a good but selfish way, I shall resent my Son-in-Law, for taking a huge place in my baby’s heart. But then I shall see her delighted smile, shining through her tears as she looks from me to him and back to me. I shall look at him; see the confidence of his love in his eyes, that she is his happiness, the way he holds her hand as though she were the most precious thing to him. And I shall know that my baby girl is okay, fine. I shall be comforted that I did right by her.
If I should have a daughter, then she will be proud to have me for her Momma! And I will be privileged to love and care for her, My Daughter, My Baby!