Dear Malin Reese,
Last night, before bedtime, you rolled your way from one edge of your room to the other. I laid in the middle of the room watching you do your thing, studying your reaction to each new discovery. My favorite reaction was the broad smile and accompanying giggle you gave after rolling into the baseboards and simultaneously farting. You are your Mother’s daughter. This has nothing to do with the rest of this letter but it was a great reminder for me that the small moments continue to fill my cup.
So, you’re a female and you’ll probably be fed a steady dose of bullshit during your life simply because you’re a girl. You’ll hear that women only exist to make babies and vacuum things. You’ll be told that you can’t be in a position of power because other people won’t respect your womanliness. You’ll be told that unless you look a certain way, no man or woman will ever love you. You’ll be told that only God has dominion over your body and soul; that you’re unable to make rational decisions about what’s best for both your body and soul. Most of these things will be told to you by men. We are a piggish, warring bunch of miscreants who can historically barely keep from destroying humanity. Please consider the messenger when these things are said to you. You’ll also be told that you’re weak. This will be told to you by someone who might be able to bicep curl more than you but is weak of mind. Of all things that I want you to ignore, it’s the notion that you’re weak just because you’re a woman. You are not only emotionally stronger than the opposite sex, you’re also physically equipped to give birth to new life. This will always be your trump card. I will never claim to be tougher than your Mom. She gave birth to you after most of the epidural had worn off. One time, I sprained my ankle. It’s no contest who’s the tougher out of the two of us.
As you move through your life, don’t be afraid to assert your toughness. In school, sports and relationships it will serve you well. Part of embracing your femininity will be highlighting your toughness. They can be complementary pieces to your makeup as a human being. Also, being tough shouldn’t hinder your ability to be warm, empathetic and vulnerable. Don’t let your place in this world be dictated by someone telling you that’s the place you should be. Set that place on fire and trek on; you’ll know your place in the world when it feels right to you.
Dad of a beautiful little girl. Husband to an amazing woman. Son and sibling of a perfectly weird and wonderful family.