Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Mama's GIRL


As I go about my daily life, I rarely hear other women talking about the THINGS I THINK ABOUT ALL THE TIME. Like, could someone PLEASE make that Verizon geek stop saying “Can you hear me now?” And who are going to be the presidential candidates in 2008? And, oh yeah, the feelings of ambivalence that come with having a daughter.

Not that we mothers don’t want, adore, and cherish our girls (which, of course, we do). But, let’s face it: little girls aren’t sugar and spice and everything nice. They are glorious onions, with layers of richness. Beauty, yes. Sweetness, too. And also strength and smarts and strong wills and complex souls, and everything else that can make up a human being—female or male. In It’s a Girl, edited by the brilliant Andrea Buchanan, the contributors talk about the issues moms like me think about: How can I raise my little girl to embrace both her beauty and her strength? How can I let go of my own agenda for my daughter and nurture her as she chooses her own path in life? Are Disney princesses, as they seem, an invention of the devil? THESE ARE MY PEOPLE. I recommend this collection highly, both for insights like those alluded to above, and for delicious lines like:

"A few days after I gave birth to my daughter, I realized my life’s true calling: to be a 1950s father and husband." – Carolyn Alessio

"I sometimes imagine myself as the unfertilized egg I once was . . .waiting for the spark that would transform me from cell to living, breathing soul. It was just my luck, then, that an X chromosome found me first. Why, why, why couldn’t it have been a Y?"—Martha Brockenbrough

"It’s even gone so far that when [my daughter] admires and envies certain prominent male body parts, I find myself saying, "Well I love my vagina," trying to toss off that phrase as comfortably and casually as I can." – Gabrielle Smith Dluha

Get thee to a bookstore.

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