My Letter to My Daughter
Submitted by ljzmami
Barack Obama continues to move me. I've already shared what an Obama presidency
means to me, a mother of color. Well, on Obama's Inauguration Day, I'm still awestruck. Not just by what he has promised this country, but by him as a man, husband, and father.
to his daughters, Sasha and Malia, explains why he ran for president, and how they inspire him. What Obama wants for them, he wants for every child in America. Which means MY child.
This awesome Dad in Chief has inspired me to write my own Letter to my own daughter:
When you came into this world, my life was forever changed. Your father and I knew that we would face a mountain of difficult challenges ahead by becoming parents. As you'll learn with many curveballs life throws at you, timing is almost never perfect, but you have to make the most of it. But any aspirations that I might've had—the selfish sort for success, money, fame, recognition and fabulosity, which I'd achieved to some degree as a freelance writer—just flew out the window when I discovered I was pregnant with you. And every niggling doubt I had melted the minute I held you in my arms on that cold March day. I decided whatever sacrifices and hardships we would face would be so totally worth it.
When I was young woman, I wondered what my purpose in life was. I spent most of my teenage years and 20s trying to find where I fit in this world. I was Latina, but didn't really speak Spanish. I was black, but couldn't relate to black culture. Growing up not knowing who you are was a struggle. I knew I was smart and talented, but still, I didn't feel very good about myself. Oftentimes, I felt like a ship without a rudder, drifting into choppy waters, losing my way in the fog. But then, you came—a shining beacon of light, and suddenly, my charted course became infinitely clear. Your name means "strong woman," a name
you chose (that's another story for another day), but so befitting: because as you grew in my belly, a sense of calm washed over me that I'd never experienced before. As I nourished you with mac and cheese
by the bowlful (My big pregnancy craving
was cheese, so much so that your nickname was Baby Mac), your spirit gave me strength.
On this historic day in 2009, you are not quite four years old, but already so aware. Your face lights up at seeing Barack Obama, as if you somehow know what he represents. And what YOU represent, mi amor, is the multicultural Generation of Hope. A Black Latina force of nature. Already, I see flashes of brilliance, beauty, strong-will and the loving, emotive spirit that your future self will become. I know from experience that growing into a young woman isn't going to be easy. You and I will fight. You might even tell me that you hate me. God knows I did, many times, to Abuelita. I often joke that it was my karma to have a girl, as payback for being such a crappy kid to my mom. But I now know that it's my job as a mother to love you, to protect you, to encourage you to reach the pinnacle of your potential, to know your self-worth, and to embrace your inner and outer beauty, to keep you grounded, even if it seems counterintuitive to your already fiercely independent spirit. The world you're growing up in is so different than mine—in some ways scarier, but in many ways, better. There will probably be times that I have to tell you that this world doesn't revolve around you. Again, that's my job. But know this: My world revolves around you. I love you. Ferociously.
Big chocolatey kisses topped with marshmallows,