How to raise a child

“How to raise a child who loves herself,” “Blessing for the Prairie Plants,” and “Ode to the Waterwheel”

In Issue 73 by Rosalie Hendon

How to raise a child

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.

Smart.

Creative.

Kind.

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,

join her.

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

Ecological conundrum—

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.

About the Author

Rosalie Hendon

Rosalie Hendon is an environmental planner living in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and many house plants. She started a virtual poetry group in 2020 during quarantine that has collectively written over 200 poems. Her work is published in Change Seven, Planisphere Q, Call Me [Brackets], Entropy, Pollux, Superpresent, Cactifur, Fleas on the Dog, Red Eft, Rising Phoenix, MockingHeart, Ariel’s Dream, Willawaw, Quarter Press, Wingless Dreamer, and Quill Keepers. Rosalie is inspired by ecology, relationships, and stories passed down through generations.

Read more work by Rosalie Hendon .