Your daddy is no Rumpelstiltskin and I've not got the bones of Betsy Ross.
Like any normal child, I started writing letters to my One Day, Some Day daughter when I was 11-years-old. I've been writing her into the margins of my diaries for eleven years now in hopes that one day she'll find these books buried somewhere in the attic and know through the etchings of my messy cursive that I wanted the most for her. Even when I've had no idea what to want for myself, I wanted the most for her. The following posts are for her, my One Day, Some Day Daughter.
Dear Daughter of Mine with the neon pink nails,
Honesty sits square on the kitchen table in our home, somewhere between the salt shaker and the pan of brownies that I managed to burn. And so, I’ll just be honest and tell you straight: Your daddy is no Rumpelstiltskin and I’ve not got the Bones of Betsy Ross.
I’d be lying if I said I never thought how your life might be different if I’d been the girl all wrapped up in thoughts of red, white & blue while your daddy Rumpel watched me from across the roller rink. If I’d been thinking of stripes as he said to his fairy tale pals, “There’s my star.”
I’d be foolish not to tell you that some days I wonder what it would have been like if he and I had collided like a firework pent-up in the garage for far too long. And if the rest had just been called History. If we’d wrapped ourselves up in a One Day American Flag and laughed up to the rafters about a Some Day Daughter: You.
Dear Daughter of Mine with the zebra-striped nails,
I would have started sewing early for you if I’d been a Betsy with a Rumpel by my side. While Sleeping Beauty snoozed in our recliner and the dwarves played Apples to Apples on the floor, I’d hold up the latest cloak for Cinderella and she’d surely nod. Pleased.
“This one is Strength,” I’d say, folding the finished cloak and handing it to Little Boy Blue. “Can you run upstairs and hang it up for me? Right in the middle of Grace and Peace.”
“It’s a fine, fine collection you’ve got for her there,” Cinderella might’ve said. “I only wish my mother had been alive to knit me these kinds of cloaks, for the days when life gets tough and shoes don’t seem to fit right. But why are you knitting them all so early? She surely won’t fit into them until she is grown.”
“Cinder, Cinder, Cinder,” I’d tell her (because everyone knows her nickname was never Ella) “The sooner I make them, the sooner I can wear them. I’ll wear them Monday upon Monday so that no Some Day Daughter of Mine ever questions if someone's love for her is like a well-worn sweater. So she feels me all around her, even when I’m no longer there.”
Dear Daughter of Mine with the pearly white nails,
I know there will be a day when life is going to hurt you, crush you, make you feel the magic has seeped out from your billowed sleeves. And what will I do? What will I do without a cloak of Strength to place around your shoulders? How will I manage without a closet full of Hope & Serendipity & Agape-- hemlines of yellow & purple & silver-- for the days when life starts showing you that she’s got teeth and she’s got bite?
Because I know I cant stop it. Cant stop the first boy who will break your heart. Cant stop the first time that you start to doubt the One who made the sunsets all for you. Cant stop you when you cry & spit & curl into a bucket of tears on the floor. No piece of silk will stop that. No cloak of gold will halt the sting.
Dear Daughter of Mine with the aqua blue nails,
I’ve come down to my knees for you nearly 1,000 times, in hopes that He’ll give me what it takes to stitch it all within you. Because I’ve not got the fingers of a Weaver and I’ve not got knitting needles all up in my hair.
And so I tell him everyday, “Break my heart and shatter my bones if it means I’ll have something to teach her when Growing Up hits her like a tidal wave. Place me into spots where I am weak, where I am hungry, where I am helpless. Show me how to crawl instead of walk, walk instead of run.”
Dear Daughter of Mine with the red polished nails—my Some Day Daughter Sleeping Soundly Somewhere South of Saturn— there’s no closet full of cloaks waiting here for you. But I am waiting. Waiting for the day when your laughter becomes the soundtrack for my way to work, the lullaby for the sleepless nights.
And I am learning. Learning to go as Black and Blue as a Bob Dylan song to make you feel my love.
And I am stitching. Already stitching my heart into every sleeve you’ll ever own.