My daughter. My precious girl. You look up at me with limpid eyes, trying to focus on mine.
Baffled by the freedom of your limbs and losing the warmth of my womb, you curl on my breast, try a tiny suckle and then close those lovely eyes into sleep.
I am exhausted too and I am ready to slumber, but first I will make you a promise. In you, I can see my mother and my grandmother and your father’s mother and his grandmother. Already I am sure that you will be determined and funny, maybe quick to anger but loving long.
How do I know? You are such a little scrap, your ears like little shells, your nose like a tiny bead, your little feet a miracle of craftsmanship.
You are perfect. You are neither evil nor a disappointment nor a failure to me because you are a girl. Do not tell me, who has just given birth, that women are weak. We are stronger than oxen, stronger than the rain storm, stronger than the mightiest tree. One day your work will be as necessary as your brother’s, your mind as fast, your ideas as fascinating.
Maybe you will find it hard to trust, and you will not be wrong little girl, the world is a cruel place and those who say they love you will say that they must protect you by changing you. They will say that evil lurks in wait if they do not do that thing, that you will never marry, never carry a babe of your own, that your own body will rise up and destroy you if they do not do that thing.
But I have decided I will not let them.
If I have to run from my own family and from your father’s family, from the wise women with their rusty blades and the wise men with their threats of violence, if I have to run with you, I will run. I don’t know where we will go my little bird, my little mouse, my precious gem. But one day the cutting must stop.
And I make this promise to you my darling, that for you and me it stops today.
2 thoughts on “The Promise”
This made me shiver Paula. At first I thought it was a soft, gentle story from a new Mum but then you weaved it beautifully into a tale of horror but hope. Excellent. x
Thank you. I hope this practice will die out soon.