Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash
How to raise a child who loves herself
To raise a child who loves herself,
remove the word “beautiful” from your vocabulary.
Replace it with brave.
Instead of her hair, her eyes, her skin:
Notice her soul.
Her hunger for stories.
Her tendencies to lead.
Her art. Her patience. Her courage.
Let her wear what she wants
(as long as it is weather appropriate).
Let her dress as her hero for Halloween:
Peter Pan, the mother bat from Stella Luna.
When she cries on stage during her preschool end-of-year show,
Sit her in your lap and sing along.
Practice with her, the whole next year,
so she knows the songs by heart.
If you have a daughter,
make her first period a celebration, not a life sentence.
Take her out for lunch.
Hang moonstones and garnet around her neck.
Teach her that her body is a miracle, not a curse.
In her childhood room, place a poster of Audre Lorde.
The words will become etched on her heart.
“When I dare to be powerful—to use my strength
in the service of my vision,
then it becomes less and less important
whether I am afraid.”
When I was born, and they placed me on my mother’s chest,
these were the first words she whispered to me:
“You are brave.
You are strong.
You are true.”
Blessing for the Prairie Plants
May you root deep
and always reach water.
May you grow tall
and feel the sun on your leaves.
May you be colorful
and delight all who see you.
May you never be lonely,
but always visited by flitting, wild things.
I think of you, Mike,
on this sunny day
spreading seed on the earth.
Blessing the prairie plants,
weaving in my hopes for them
and for our world.
Blessing you, wherever you are now.
Your soul, your spirit, your energy,
your atoms, your heart.
I haven’t figured out what happens after we die.
There’s so much we don’t know.
So I’m blessing you,
and these plants,
and this patch of earth
for good measure.
Ode to the Waterwheel
Never where you’re wanted,
only where you’re not.
Endangered and invasive
threatened and threatening
going extinct and going wild
only humans could have done this.
Like the pythons in Florida,
the sea lampreys in the Great Lakes,
a bumblebee in Argentina:
We import our own disaster.
Call it our saving grace.
Desperation on both sides:
struggling to control,
fighting to save.
Underwater, the waterwheel
snaps up shrimp, tadpoles, even the unwary minnow.
It asks us, so what do you want
to do about me?
Save me? Destroy me?
A little of both?
How do you deal with the blurriness of that?
We shrug, decide to wait till it’s too late.
Maybe it always has been.
Marion Renault. August 13, 2019. This Carnivorous Plant Invaded New York. That May Be Its Only Hope. New York Times.