Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Borrowed Prayer for My Daughter

About once every two weeks or so, I come up with some kind of brilliant plan to either improve my parenting (which usually fails) or simplify baby care (which also usually fails). Earlier in the week, I decided that I would go back to trying to nurse Campbell in the bed during the middle of the night, rather than getting her out of the Pack 'N Play, tiptoeing into her room, getting the My Brest Friend on, nursing her, then tiptoeing back to our room and depositing her back into the Pack 'N Play. Before we put her to bed that night, I put the Boppy by our bed (which I hate as a nursing pillow, by the way) and went to sleep thinking that the middle of the night feeding would go super-smoothly. At about 2am, Campbell woke up hungry, so I nursed her back to sleep and laid her back in the Pack 'N Play. As I mentally high-fived myself for an easy nighttime feeding, I heard it. The unmistakable gurgling of one of her super-poops. Once I knew she was done, I undid the incredibly noisy velcro of her swaddle wrap, which woke her up completely. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, she looked and me and gave me a gummy grin. While those grins melt my heart, they're not exactly what I want to see at 2:40am. As I unsnapped her onesie and removed her diaper, I realized that not only had the poop gone up her back and through her onesie, but also through the swaddle wrap and her sheets. Yuck. I'd been defeated by the poop and had no choice but to wake up David to help me. I just couldn't change the sheets and her by myself. He was super-groggy, but I really just needed him to be awake enough to not roll over her or let her fall off the bed as I laid her in our bed long enough to change her sheets. Once I'd changed the sheets on her bed and reswaddled her, I settled in to nurse her to sleep again. I was pretty well exhausted, but as I looked at her, I thought, "There is absolutely nothing else I'd rather be doing." I was just overcome with love for that sweet little girl who relies on David and me for everything. The love I felt for her then is just something I can't really describe. I'm so very thankful to have her in my life, and I can't imagine anything being more fulfilling than being her mom.
That very early morning adventure reminded me of something I'd read while I was pregnant. It's Tina Fey's "A Prayer for My Daughter," from her book Bossypants. It's irreverent and offbeat, and even though it's got some foul language, I agree with every word of it. Here it is:

"First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie the Pooh 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. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I'm asking You, because if I knew, I'd be doing it, Dammit.

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 for much too long, 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, 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 4:50am., 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. Amen."


  1. You are such a wonderful Mommy. Many many many years from now when Campbell has her own baby, she'll look at this blog post and pray this for her child. : )

  2. All I can say is "Amen"! I was so blessed to have two beautiful babies who grew into the most awesome women I have ever known. It has been and always will be an honor and a privilege to be your mother. You never stop worrying about and wanting the best for your kids and the love that you feel for her right now will only grow stronger and stronger. God has truly blessed me! Oh, and I have cleaned up my share of poop & puke!


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