Rerun week continues with A Love Letter to My Daughter, Who Will Never Be

by DaniGirl on April 7, 2009 · 5 comments

in It IS all about me, Meta-blogging

(I’m guest-blogging this week over at Canadian Family magazine’s blog, Family Jewels, so it’s nothing but re-runs back here. Since I’m writing today about why sons are better than daughters, I thought it would be a good day to share this one from my archives, originally posted in September 2007.)

To my darling daughter, who will never be:

It may seem odd to begin a letter with a farewell, and perhaps even moreso a farewell to someone who never was, someone who never will be. But I needed to find a way to say goodbye to you, my daughter, because even though we never had the chance to say hello, you’ve always been a part of me. You’ve been with me – the idea of you – my whole life. As far back as I can remember, I expected you. I spent my life preparing for the act of mothering you. I carried the potential of you, my daughter, close to my heart, and in quiet moments I have loved to savour the imagining of you. But now, through the vagaries of fate and nature, it seems you are simply not to be.

It’s a wonder of the human heart that it can be filled with boundless joy at the idea of a son, and yet haunted by regretful longing on losing the idea of a daughter.

I am sad to have lost the opportunity to know you. I feel an empty hollow in the place I’ve always reserved for you. After a lifetime of expecting you, I’m struggling to let go of the idea of you, and with that, the idea of us as mother and daughter. Having felt you so keenly in my life, have expected you so fully, the reality of life without you still perplexes me slightly. “What do you mean I’ll never have a daughter?” It’s like trying to imagine a world without the colour red. Red has always been there; red belongs in the colour scheme of life.

I like to imagine that you would have been like me, but better. The best of me and of your father distilled, and improved upon by that which would have been uniquely you. You would have been precocious, and willful, and you would have kept your doting brothers wrapped around your little finger. You would have grown into a strong and capable woman, and you would have become, with the passage of the years, my friend as well as my daughter. We would have shared things that only a mother and daughter can share, and I would have treasured our unique relationship as much as I treasure the relationship I have with my own mother – a relationship I could only hope to replicate, as it would be impossible to improve upon it.

It may seem to be a little strange to say goodbye to someone who never existed; who never will exist. But to me, you were as real as the sunrise, as real as the stars that shine at night. I can’t touch those things either, but that hasn’t stopped me from believing in them. But now, after a lifetime of anticipating you, I relinquish you to the stars and banish the idea of you to the speculation of long, dark nights. What might have been, what will not be. In the darkest of those nights, I think of three lost souls, three babies miscarried, and even poor Frostie, and I wonder. I wonder if you were there, if you tried to arrive, if there was some great ironic twist of biology that prevented me from gestating a girl. I’ll never know.

While I may have spent my life expecting a girl, I’ve been delighted by the inherent joy of mothering my boys. My boys; those odd and adorable creatures whom I love beyond reason. I truly had no idea how wonderful it is to be the mother of boys. And though I can’t imagine life without them, the arrival of each boy somehow only deepened my certainty in your eventual arrival.

But now, finally, it’s time to say goodbye to you, my daughter, as I embrace with my whole heart the idea of spending my life being the princess, the diva, the queen among my coterie of men. I’ll miss you, my girl. I’ll miss holding a place for you in my life, and I’ll miss what might have been. I’ll have to adjust my sense of self, too, my sense of how my life will unfold from here. But my heart is full, and I have more blessings in my life than I ever dared hope for.

Goodbye, my beautiful daughter.


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chantal April 7, 2009 at 8:29 am

that made me cry the first time I read it, and it made me cry again!

2 Madeleine April 7, 2009 at 9:25 am

I’m crying again, too. {Dani}

3 Cath April 7, 2009 at 10:57 am

That’s really, really beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

4 Mac and Cheese April 7, 2009 at 9:09 pm

I’m not going to read this again. Only one cry per customer.

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