Letter to My Daughter: Salvaging Your Sweetness

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(I wrote the following in honor of my daughter last year some time and found it on my abandoned tumblr page. I decided to share with you so we can honor our beautiful babies together, while they ARE our babies!)

You blanket my cheeks with innocent kisses, as you wrap your arms around my neck and you say “I love you, Mama”. I kiss your forehead, hold you tight and say how much I love you more and that you truly are the sweetest girl I know. Its true. You are so sweet, so much so that I worry for you. I see myself in you, remnants of what I used to be. And now that I have the honor of being your mother, one of the most uncomfortable truths I must face is that I have to prepare you, as much as I can, for heartbreak and disappointment. I have the painstaking task of helping you to build your character as well as your resiliency; preparing you for what can be an angry, opportunistic world, and how I wish it wasn’t necessary. But here’s why it is:

Remember the creepy guy at the grocery store? The one taking mental images of your blossominglady parts”? He’s why. I followed his eyes as they explored you from top to bottom and everything in me wanted to claw his eyes out! I imagine that its the feeling a father would feel about his daughter, a feeling your own father couldn’t bring himself to experience. But what could I do? Tell him that you’re only twelve?? Would that have stopped his lustful glances? Would your age even matter to another?! This man and eventually many others, will see exactly what they CHOOSE to see of you, but I see what is IN you; that your body is not on the same page as your mind… you’re just a twelve-year-old sweet, goofy, naive child who pillow-fights with her kid brother and pretends to be grossed out by kissing scenes. 

But I can’t protect you from everything, baby; I have to give you over to this world someday. So allow your mother to impart some words of wisdom, cultured by experience, stiffened by pain and softened by your love: 

  • Never do ANYTHING that goes against your spirit.
  • Have respect for all living things BUT reserve your LOVE for those who will secure you in enough love for equal soothing.
  • If you meet a young lady who wants to be your friend, make sure she knows what being a friend means to you and that you BOTH can honor and uplift one another in the spirit of sisterhood.
  • If you meet a young man who wants to be more than your friend, make sure he admires you for more than just the color of your curves or the rhythm of your switch. You will know this by his patience with you and the consistent smile on his face, produced simply by your presence. Ensure that he has the courage to look your mother in the eyes and express his intent; you will be NO ONE’S secret.
  • When you share your sweet, your stash should never be depleted. Save some just for you. It’s yours, you created it so always make sure your soul is fed first.
  • When you share your sweet, make sure he or she knows how to share it with you.. Many will search all over for a sweetness as inviting as yours and once someone finds you, prepare to question the PURPOSE of their search.
  • And finally, when you share your sweet, understand that it may not always be appreciated, no matter how careful you are in making sure that it is.

But my lovely daughter, you fight to hold on to as much sweetness as you can. Don’t let this world rot you at your core. Continue to see the good in people but refrain from being anyone’s fool so that you can never be anyone’s victim. And most importantly, SHINE your sweet, beautiful light; never let anyone or anything take it away but be humble enough to dim it every now and then so that others can see their own. 

You’ve got this, baby. 

Love you always, 

Mama

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2 thoughts on “Letter to My Daughter: Salvaging Your Sweetness

  1. This is one of the most empowering letters to a daughter I have ever read it encompasses everything that I would want to say to my daughters I want to share it at our Nia MOM support groups!

    Thank You for being Authentic, honest and real about the realities our girls have to conquer to protect their power! This letter is definitely a keeper!!!

    Like

    • Thanks Tracie!
      I’m so glad someone could read this and capture the essence that I intended to write with. I wish my mother spoke these words to me at a young age… I gave this letter to my daughter and she just blushed. I know she doesn’t get it yet, but it is my hope that in time, she’ll understand this perfectly.

      Writing my thoughts about my daughter has also given me an entirely different perspective on our society. I see clearly the over-sexualization of woman, Black woman in particular. We tend to receive the message that we must give over our bodies to be appreciated; that we must show off our curves, our behinds and our breasts for attention. And once we do, many of us are devastated when that attention is short-lived. Bitterness and resentment fester and turn good girls into broken ones. I want my daughter and all daughters to have confidence in knowing that they offer so much more. Sweetness, nowadays, is so rare. And if they walk away with nothing else, they must maintain that sweet.

      Please, PLEASE share this… we need our daughters, especially our fatherless daughters to understand that they are so much more than their bodies. And that if they do fall, not to wallow in that dark place.

      Thank you, Sista…
      Nik

      Like

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