Monday, January 02, 2012

Things I Want My Daughter To Have (Reading "B" by Sarah Kay)

I just discovered this spoken word poem on I stumbled upon it when I searched for poetry. It was the first book they recommended for the holidays. It is truly amazing. And because I do have a daughter, I found it really fascinating and true and poignant.

There are just some things I want to share with my daughter because I was there before her. And I want to share it with love, with a lot of understanding, with the compassion of a mother to a maybe-future-mother too. And not to say that I'm all-wise either. Like Sarah says in her poem, "on a scale from one to over-trusting, I am pretty damn naive." I want her to know that I'll be there. Through her mistakes (which she'll surely make) and her triumphs and her heartaches (with all the drama!) and her joyful discoveries. And maybe when she's a mother herself... I'll be there before, during and after that painful, bewildering, crazy, beautiful thing called giving birth. And like "The Runaway Bunny" (one of my favorite kids' books) "B" reminds me that I am a "Point B" and no matter what my daughter will do... I will find her. And also that she can't get away from me.

Some things I want my daughter to have: a love for life, an independence of thought, a big, inexhaustible heart. And more, more, more.

I was very inspired by "B." And I'm already drafting something for Clea, especially after she woke me up at 5AM today! :-)

by Sarah Kay

If I should have a daughter,
instead of "mom," she's gonna call me "Point B."
Because that way she knows no matter what happens
at least she can always find her way to me.
And I'm going to paint the solar systems on the backs of her hands.
So that she has to learn the entire universe before she can say
"Oh, I know that like the back of my hand."
And she's gonna learn that this life
will hit you.
In the face.
Wait for you to get back up just so it can kick you in the stomach.
But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs
how much they like the taste of air.
There is hurt here
that cannot be fixed
by band-aids or poetry.
So the first time she realizes that Wonder Woman isn't coming,
I'll make sure she knows she doesn't have to wear the cape
all by herself.
Cause no matter how wide you stretch your fingers,
your hands will always be too small to catch
all the pain you want to heal.
Believe me.
I've tried.
"And, baby," I'll tell her,
"Don't keep your nose up in the air like that.
I know that trick;
I've done it a million times.
You're just smelling for smoke,
so you can follow the trail back to a burning house,
so you can find the boy who lost everything in the fire,
to see if you can save him.
Or else,
find the boy who lit the fire in the first place
to see if you can change him."
But I know she will anyway,
so, instead, I'll always keep an extra supply of chocolate and rain boots nearby.
Because there is no heartbreak that chocolate can't fix.
Okay...there's a few heartbreaks that chocolate can't fix,
but that's what the rain boots are for.
Because rain will wash away everything,
if you let it.
I want her
to look at the world
through the underside of a glass bottom boat.
To look with a microscope at the galaxies that exist
on the pinpoint of a human mind.
that's the way my mom taught me.
That there'll be days like this.
There'll be days like this my mama said.
When you open your hands to catch
and wind up with only blisters and bruises.
When you step out of the phone booth and try to fly
and the very people you want to save
are the ones standing on your cape.
When your boots will fill with rain,
and you'll be up to your knees in disappointment,
and those are the very days you have all the more reason to say "Thank You."
Cause there's nothing more beautiful
than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline
no matter how many times it's sent away.
You will put the wind in winsome...lose some.
You will put the star in starting over. And over.
And no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute
make sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life.
And, yes, on a scale from one to over-trusting, I am
pretty damn naive.
But I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar.
It can crumble so easily but don't be afraid to stick your tongue out
and taste it.
"Baby," I'll tell her,
"Remember your mama is a worrier
and your papa is a warrior.
And you are the girl with small hands and big eyes
who never stops asking for more."
"Remember that good things come in threes do bad things."
And, "Always apologize when you've done something wrong.
But don't you ever apologize for the way your eyes
refuse to stop shining.
Your voice is small
but don't ever stop singing."
And when they finally hand you heartache,
when they slip war and hatred under your door,
and offer you hand outs on street corners
of cynicism and defeat,
you tell them that they
really oughtta meet
your mother.

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