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To the Daughter I’ll Never Have

Image source: Shutterstock
Image source: Shutterstock

Dearest Daughter,

You might not know this, but I’ve spent most of my life wishing for you. From the time I was a child, I diligently cared for my baby girl dolls with all the love and attention a mother could give. As I imagined my life as a wife and a mom, the someday wish of you stood front and center. Together, we’d host the most incredible tea parties, argue over your hair in the mornings, and redefine for ourselves what it meant to fight like a girl.

As you grew older, we’d disagree on the suitability of prom dresses and boyfriends, routinely butting heads because we were nothing and too much alike. I’d host your bridal shower, baby shower(s), and serve as your trusted mentor on all things woman, wife, and mother. And I was so ready. Ready for all of it. So on that fateful February afternoon when two tiny blue lines appeared, my perfect pink plans sprang into action.

Your daddy wanted to name you Jessica or Emily. I wanted Bella or Sophia. But you were not meant to be … not just yet.

The news of a baby boy surprised us both. I was carrying “girl.” My vivid pregnancy dreams were all “girl.” Heck, even the Chinese lunar calendar suggested “girl,” but I soon discovered mothering a son to be a tender joy all its own. And just when I thought I couldn’t love anything more, two tiny blue lines appeared.

For weeks the promise of you filled our home. Your big brother sang to you in my belly. Your daddy and I named you Sadie, and once again, perfect pink plans began to unfold. But you were not meant to be … not just yet. And this time, there would be no unexpected blessing in your place. Like a falling star, you shone big and bright, but only for a moment.

In the months that followed, I did my best to forget about you. If I was lucky, I could go a day or two without your brother asking what happened to you, where you were living now, and when you’d be coming home. I had these same questions, but I dared not breathe them to life. Instead, I chose to write about them, as if written words could reach heaven in a way that spoken words could not. And maybe they did, because once again, two tiny blue lines appeared.

For a fleeting moment I wondered if you were coming home, dear daughter. But there would be no perfect pink plans — not this time. I wouldn’t allow them. The news of another boy brought me tremendous relief. Convenient logic assured me my body knew how to carry a son. Thankfully for my tender heart, another big brother was born. Between sleepless nights and tight finances, I told myself our family was complete, but the promise of you never left. Every time a girlfriend welcomed a daughter, I wondered. Every time I witnessed a moment between mother and daughter, you whispered and continued long and loud enough until two tiny blue lines appeared.

For what would be the last time, you were simply not meant to be … not just yet anyway.

It’s taken a long time to let go of the dream of mothering you in the traditional sense. Focusing on my sons made it a little easier. Knowing others feel the same helped, too. But real peace came from realizing our story isn’t over. My pink plans are coming. I don’t know when and I’m not exactly sure how, but if you ask me, the blessing of a daughter-in-law, niece, granddaughter, or honorary daughter would be just about as perfect as any.

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