Is there such a thing as a perfect girlhood? For my sake, I hope there is. For yours, I know that's impossible, and that disappointment is good, necessary, and inevitable.
Yet . . . I still want a track record of 100% perfect happiness for you. Is that too much to ask?
Of course it is. I know that, even if you don't. You're almost 10 and approaching the second half of your girlhood. That most vulnerable part. The part where the instincts of confidence and self-preservation that have defined you up until now subjected to the slings and arrows of The World.
Not "The World," capital T, capital W. Anything but that. I want to SAVE you from The World. MAYDAY! SOS! Here comes the fucking WORLD.
I want to vacuum seal your healthy self esteem in a jar, and put it on a shelf forever with one of those airline "FRAGILE" stickers on it. I've worked too hard to help you cultivate its contents for the better part of a decade, and I want that jar to be shatterproof.
I want to place it far out of reach of mean boys who would call you fat or ugly or violate you or mistreat you emotionally or physically.
I want to hide it away from academic and athletic rejection and failure.
I want to shelter it from other girls who would cannibalize your spirit and chip away at your sense of self. But remember--and this is important: they are fragile and vulnerable, too. They are your sisters on this journey. Do not forget that.
I wish you could skip that whole part. The part that's barreling down on you like a freight train right now. The part of girlhood where the gathering storm of adolescence and young womanhood thrashes your soul against a jagged reef.
No one gets out of The World alive, we all know that. Even you. But in the meantime, will you be able to do the things you set out to do and embrace setbacks as new challenges and opportunities?
Only you can decide that.
I can't give you a perfect girlhood, even though I wish I could. All I can do is act as a counterweight against The World; give you safe harbor; whisper in your ear to be confident, fearless, to love yourself first. And, if you want to, become a rocket scientist or go to culinary school like you told me the other day you wanted to do.
I can't give you a perfect girlhood, and maybe that's a good thing. All I can do is try to give you the tools to make a happy girlhood for yourself.