I fear the day my daughter turns 14
And tries to suck on a lollipop in class—
Because a girl in her class will
Be a slut just like her mother
And will make a comment suggesting
That the lollipop is a euphemism
Or a representation of a man’s property.
My daughter will contort her eyebrows,
But then will realize that her peers
Will suck more than a sucker, and that
Candy is much sweeter.
On this day, my son will kiss a girl
For the very first time, and I fear the
Moment he mistakes cravings for happiness.
You see, we don’t teach our children
That it’s okay to love without your body—
We only teach them that kisses goodnight
Are the most important way to say I love you.
So they kiss to say I love you too.
I dread the moment my daughter walks in
Holding her chest because something’s wrong—
She’ll pull her hand away from her body
Revealing blood from palm to sternum,
And shards of glass will poke from where
Her heart is supposed to be.
I couldn’t warn her that broken hearts were
Inevitable, so instead of building her out
Of metal, I taught her to be made of glass
And now it’s my fault she’s been shattered.
I don’t know what I’ll do when my son comes
Home saying that it broke and he doesn’t know
What to do. Mom I’m scared, he’ll say.
I taught him how to have safe sex, but I never
Taught him that safety is never guaranteed
And that you can still die even if you wear your
Seatbelt 100% of the time. Nine months later, he
Will learn what it’s like to die in a car wreck
Without ever being in one.
I am aware that as a mother, I won’t be able to
Teach my children how to be perfect—
It is in imperfection that they are beautiful
And in their mistakes will they find answers.
It is my job to make sure they have wings to fly;
It is the only job I’ve ever wanted.
At the end of the day when they ask, Mommy,
Why do you look so sad sometimes? I’ll answer
That it is because I’m trying to teach my babies
How to survive in a world made for execution
And no one taught me how to be a teacher.