Last year, my friend Maya posted on her blog (currently closed down - *sad face*) an excerpt from Tina Fey's very funny book, Bossypants. It was "The Mother's Prayer for Its Daughter," and I loved it so much, I was prompted to buy and read the entire book. The prayer as it were, rings true for me as a parent though I'd pray it for my son as well, with a couple minor tweaks (see footnotes - sorry, Ms. Fey. My readers will tell you I can't help myself). On this Mother's Day, I thought I'd share it with you, here:
The Mother's Prayer for Its Daughter1
First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth2 nor Winnie-the-Pooh3 holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.
May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it's the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach's eye, not the Beauty.
When the Crystal Meth is offered,
May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half
And stick with Beer.
Guide her, protect her
When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called "Hell Drop," "Tower of Torture," or "The Death Spiral Rock 'N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith," and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.
Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance.
Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels.4
What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I'm asking You, because if I knew, I'd be doing it, Youdammit.
May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.
Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen.
Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies much too long.5
For Childhood is short - a Tiger Flower blooming
Magenta for one day -
And Adulthood is long and Dry-Humping in Cars will wait.
O Lord, break the Internet forever,6
That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers
And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.
And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister,
Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends,
For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.
And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord,
That I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.
"My mother did this for me once," she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby's neck. "My mother did this for me." And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget.
But I'll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.
(Tina Fey, 2011; annotated by Carol, 2012)
A whole-hearted happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there. And a happy mother's day to all of your mothers, both biological or otherwise.
We'd never have made it without you.
1Also for my son. Because quite frankly, most of this will apply for him too. We cut his grapes in half when he was a small child, as well as those for Kate.
2Despite it being culturally appropriate, as they are both 1/2 Chinese.
3Or Angry Birds for that matter...
4Unless of course she wants to. And for my son, a tie, since that seems a good parallel to having to wear high heels to work...
5Or in the case of Rowan, Angry Birds, Marvel comic books, and Legos.
6Or maybe just every time she tries to get online, until she's about 26? Cuz you know, I kinda like the whole Internet thing myself.